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Metronomy


Fort Punta Christo by Daniel Kirsic

Opening Concert: 24.08.16

Massive Attack | Kamasi Washington | Moodymann Festival Performances: 25-28.08.16

Larry Heard aka Mr Fingers Live Hiatus Kaiyote Moritz Von Oswald Trio ft. Tony Allen & Max Loderbauer Octave One (Live) Ben Klock Marcel Dettmann Richie Hawtin (Extended set - The Moat)

Mood II Swing Joe Claussell Motor City Drum Ensemble Rødhåd Ron Trent

Kyle Hall Gene Hunt Hunee Jeremy Underground Mala dBridge Steve O’Sullivan (Live) Virginia Live ft. Steffi & Dexter Helena Hauff Darkstar (Live) Mike Huckaby DJ Qu DJ Stingray

The Bug ft. Miss Red Loefah Ryan Elliott Kai Alce Soichi Terada Petar Dundov Matias Aguayo Zenker Brothers Broken English Club aka Oliver Ho Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra Antal Nightmares on Wax Daniel Bell

Hessle Audio: Ben Ufo x Pangaea x Pearson Sound Daniel Avery DJ Fett Burger & DJ Sotofett (Sex Tags Mania)

Hieroglyphic Being Midland Marcellus Pittman K’Alexi Shelby Tama Sumo Plus many many more dimensionsfestival.com


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23.10.16 SUNDAY 23 OCTOBER, 7PM - 12PM COLSTON HALL, BRISTOL SIMPLETHINGSFESTIVAL.CO.UK

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Music, Creativity & Technology www.sonar.es

Barcelona 16.17.18 June

a-trak, acid arab, alizzz, alva noto, angel molina, anohni: hopelessness, ata kak, badbadnotgood, ben klock, ben ufo b2b helena hauff, bicep, bob moses, booka shade, boys noize, bruna & wooky + alba g. corral, byetone, cauto, club cheval, congo natty, coyu, cyclo (carsten nicolai + ryoji ikeda), danny l harle, david august (live band), dawn of midi, dj ez, drippin, dvs1 & rødhåd, eats everything, ed banger house party, el guincho, fatboy slim, field by martin messier, flume, four tet (7h set), gazelle twin: kingdom come, gerd janson, homesick, hot shotz (powell + lorenzo senni), intergalactic gary, ison, ivy lab, jackmaster, jackwasfaster, jacob korn, james blake, james rhodes, jamie woon, jean-michel jarre, john grant, john grvy, john luther adams, john talabot, kaytranada, kelela, kenny dope, kerri chandler, king midas sound + fennesz, kode9 x lawrence lek present the nøtel, kölsch (live), lady leshurr, lafawndah, las hermanas, laurent garnier (7h set), lemonick, lil jabba, magic mountain high, malard, mano le tough, matias aguayo, melé & monki’s nrg flash, mikael seifu, mind against, mura masa, n.m.o, new order, nicola cruz, niño de elche + los voluble, nozinja, oneohtrix point never, paco osuna, pulsinger & irl, red axes, richie hawtin, roots manuva, santigold, section boyz, sevdaliza, skepta, soft revolvers by myriam bleau, soichi terada, stormzy, strand, the black madonna, the martinez brothers, the spanish dub invasion feat. mad professor, toxe, troyboi, tuff city kids, underground resistance presents timeline, undo, yung lean and many more. www.sonar.es an initiative of

in collaboration with

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+44 (0) 20 3239 2732

supported by

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Tickets available from www.sunfall.co.uk

Dimensions Festival Bussey Building

Deviation Corsica Studios

Studio 89 Brixton Electric

Outlook x Metalheadz Fire London

Glasgow to Detroit Phonox

Jamie & Friends The Coronet

10pm - late

Sunfall are proud to announce we’ll be hosting an Independent Record Fair in partnership with Thirty Three Thirty Three on the day.

ÂŁ55 Day & Night tickets include entry to our day festival in Brockwell Park as well as a night session of your choice:

Anthony Naples Ben Klock Benji B Boxed dBridge Digital Mystikz Donato Dozzy Fatima Yamaha Goldie Hunee Jamie xx Jeremy Underground Job Jobse Josey Rebelle Joy Orbison Kamasi Washington Mind Against Mister Saturday Night Moodymann Omar-S Om Unit Ryan Elliott Sam Binga Sassy J Shackleton Yussef Kamaal Trio Zomby

Night Sessions:

11am - 10pm*

Brockwell Park:

A new festival for London Saturday 9th July 2016

A Taste of Afrobeat Vibrations Effra Social

Rhythm Section x Mister Saturday Canavans Peckham


SET IN HENHAM PARK SUFFOLK

THE MACCABEES / THE NATIONAL / NEW ORDER BEIRUT / CHVRCHES / M83 / FATHER JOHN MISTY / JOHN GRANT THE LUMINEERS / OF MONSTERS AND MEN / GRIMES / SLAVES COURTNEY BARNETT / DAUGHTER / MIIKE SNOW / CHET FAKER LAURA MVULA / BRITISH SEA POWER / KURT VILE AND THE VIOLATORS CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS / POLIÇA / ROOTS MANUVA / PERFUME GENIUS MØ / MICHAEL KIWANUKA / STURGILL SIMPSON / JAMIE WOON / HONNE PANTHA DU PRINCE PRESENTS THE TRIAD / BLACK MOUNTAIN / JUNGLE (DJ SET) DAVID RODIGAN (HISTORY OF REGGAE) / SUUNS / BLANCK MASS / ANNA MEREDITH MIKE SKINNER & MURKAGE PRESENT TONGA / PROTOMARTYR / LET’S EAT GRANDMA COMEDY AND CABERET

JOSH WIDDICOMBE / RUSSELL HOWARD / REGGIE WATTS

THE BOY WITH TAPE ON HIS FACE / DAVID O’DOHERTY / ROBIN INCE & JOSIE LONG / SARA PASCOE

SOHO THEATRE PRESENTS BRIDGET EVERETT, CHRISTEENE, LE GATEAU CHOCOLAT, PETER & BAMBI HEAVEN AND TOM ALLEN THEATRE AND DANCE

SADLER’S WELLS / IMPROBABLE & BLIND SUMMIT / GOB SQUAD / CIRCA / FAMILIE FLÖZ LIFT PRESENT EVERYTHING BY MY SIDE / SVALBARD / LYRIC HAMMERSMITH / YOUNG VIC LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES / GRAEAE / MARK THOMAS / THEATRE AD INFINITUM FILM AND MUSIC

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THE DIGBETH TRIANGLE SATURDAY 30TH JULY 2016 • MIDDAY – MIDNIGHT

- LINE UP IN A-Z -

BODDIKA, CHRIS LORENZO, DYNAMITE, ETHERWOOD, FAVA, FRED V & GRAFIX, HOTT LIKE DETROIT, HUGO MASSIEN, JADED, JAKKIN RABBIT, KLOSE ONE, KRAKOTA, LADY LESHURR, LFM & MALI, LOGAN SAMA, MADUK, MARC SPENCE, MARK RADFORD, MIKE SKINNER & MURKAGE PRESENT TONGA, MONKI, NOISIA, NVOY, PETE GRAHAM, REDLIGHT, SANTERO, S.P.Y, SKAPES, SONNY FODERA, STAMINA, TEN STORY, TOM SHORTERZ, TOMMY VERCETTI, TONN PIPER, TROYBOI, WREC, 2SHY + MORE TBA

... MY NIGHT • 11PM TO 6AM • LINE UP TBA

TICKETS & INFO – MADEBIRMINGHAM.COM

THE RAINBOW OPEN AIR ARENA SUNDAY 31ST JULY • 3PM-9PM

Outdoor event with food vendors from Digbeth Dining Club

TICKETS & INFO MADEBIRMINGHAM.COM


Highlights Exhibitions Guan Xiao: Flattened Metal

in association with K11 Art Foundation 20 Apr – 19 Jun 2016 Lower Gallery

Martine Syms: Fact & Trouble 20 Apr – 19 Jun 2016 Upper Gallery

Dennis Morris: PiL – First Issue to Metal Box 23 Mar – 15 May 2016 ICA Fox Reading Room

Film

Events The Rise, Fall and Rise of Vinyl Records Wed 4 May, 6.30pm Coleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy chairs a panel discussion with Sean Bidder (Vinyl Factory), Peter Saville and Adrian Shaughnessy exploring the visual history and influence that vinyl album cover design has had on popular culture.

STOP PLAY RECORD: A Conversation with Producers and Commissioners Thu 5 May, 6.30pm

With speakers that include Vimeo’s Director of Curation Jordan McGarry and producer and joint head of Fly Film Kate Ogborn, we explore the diverse role of the producer, the development of creative treatments for commissioning and the future of film distribution and the increasing influence of online media platforms.

Stanley Picker Lectures: Nicole Wermers and Joshua Simon Tue 10 May, 6pm

Artist Nicole Wermers discusses her work, her practice and neomaterialism with Joshua Simon. Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk

Sniffin’ Glue: Mark Perry on Punk Publications Wed 11 May, 6.30pm

British fanzine publisher, writer and musician Mark Perry is in conversation with designer, artist and punk historian, Toby Mott, discussing punk publications and Sniffin’ Glue, a monthly punk zine started by Perry in July 1976.

Artists’ Film Club: East Asia Moving Sat 14 May, 2pm

A presentation and review of poetic, accomplished and emotive films, created by rising filmmaking talent from East Asia.

The Future We Want Tue 17 May, 6.30pm

Paul Mason chairs a panel discussion exploring the new socialism, the crisis in care and reproduction, the battle for feminism and building a left media.

Culture Now: Sophy Rickett and Darian Leader Fri 20 May, 1pm

ICA Cinematheque Punx Not Dead: Cinema and Society After Punk 29 Mar – 10 May 2016

Coinciding with the ICA exhibition Dennis Morris: PiL - First Issue to Metal Box, this ICA Cinematheque season captures the echoes of the political, social and musical upheaval in the UK and the USA that began in 1978-79. Films include Yangon Calling – Punk in Myanmar (3 May) and B-Movie: Lust & Sound In West-Berlin 1979-198 (10 May).

NTS presents Voice of the Eagle: The Enigma of Robbie Basho + Intro 7–8 May 2016

A documentary on the extraordinary life and visionary music of the American guitarist and singer Robbie Basho.

Artists’ Film Biennial 2016 25–29 May 2016

A five-day celebration of artists’ film and moving image, with the opportunity to engage directly with artists, curators and industry practitioners from all over the world.

Guan Xiao in association with

The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848


17

Contents Features 28

METRONOMY Joe Mount has stripped his electronic pop powerhouse back to its core, repurposing memories of late nights and longing into his neon-lit new album. In Paris, Gwyn Thomas de Chroustchoff meets a man taking stock of a whirlwind

44

JOHN CALE As a key player for countless classic records, the founding Velvet Underground member will only revisit the past to pull the narrative apart. He speaks to Davy Reed about fellow countercultural icons, orchestrating drones and hip-hop’s sonic progression

34

APEIRON CREW One of Copenhagen’s foremost DJ collectives, Aurora Mitchell discovers the origins of the tight-knit techno crew

42

THE BIG MOON In between roars of laughter, the hyped four piece talk stage invasions, super soakers, and a mutual love for Mellow Magic with Gemma Samways

38

KAMASI WASHINGTON The esteemed saxophonist has become a central force in the LA jazz community. He tells Tom Watson about his three hour jazz epic and his musical symbiosis with the Black Lives Matter movement

50

STEVE GUNN The Brooklyn songwriter tells Tom Watson how he’s unhinged himself from structure, allowing his drifting improvisation to inform his unspooling, hypnotic folk

52

SEBASTIAAN PIETER The emerging designer’s PIETER label weaves subversive inspirations into everyday pieces. Jake Hall examines his progressive menswear

56

THOMSON & CRAIGHEAD In the midst of Trump-fuelled anxiety, Thomson and Craighead’s apocalyptic, dread-mapping exhibition Party Booby Trap feels highly potent. Augustin Macellari explores the genesis of the gloom

52

28

56

Metronomy shot exclusively for Crack by Henry Gorse Paris: April 2016

Regulars 19

EDITORIAL Sometimes it Snows in April

25

NEW MUSIC From the periphery

91

TURNING POINTS: BISHOP NEHRU After interest from Nas and a collaboration with DOOM, the prodigious teenage rapper was tipped for stardom, only to withdraw from the limelight when the stage seemed set for his ascendance. Duncan Harrison hears his story.

62

AESTHETIC: GEORGE MITCHELL The frontman of one of the UK’s most essential punk bands, Mitchell’s charming mixture of laconic ambivalence and swaggering bravado is captured in our styled shoot

93

20 QUESTIONS: BUZZ OSBOURNE As one of the most iconic men in grunge and a notoriously tricky interview subject, naturally we called up Buzz to talk cartoons, Kanye West and the versatility of egg whites

71

REVIEWS Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music

94

PERSPECTIVE: SASSYBLACK One half of THEESatisfaction and integral member of the radical outsider collectives Black Constellation and Black Weirdo, SassyBlack discusses Prince’s crucial influence on her identity

34

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44

50

38


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SUBMOTION ORCHESTRA SUNDAY PAPERS LIVE SUSANNE SUNDFØR FT. EDDIE 'THE EAGLE' EDWARDS i-D & SOFAR SOUNDS COMEDY PRESENTED HONNE BY UNDERBELLY VOODOO RAY’S TINARIWEN ALL THIS FOR £49.50 + BF

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fabric May /June 2016 www.fabriclondon.com


21

Issue 64

Executive Editors Thomas Frost tom@crackmagazine.net Jake Applebee jake@crackmagazine.net Editor Davy Reed Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton luke@crackmagazine.net Deputy Editor Anna Tehabsim Online Editor Billy Black Junior Online Editor Sammy Jones Editorial Assistant Duncan Harrison Creative Director Alfie Allen Graphic Design Yasseen Faik Marketing / Events Assistant Lucy Harding Deputy Marketing / Ticketing Ben Horton Staff Writer Tom Watson Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith Art Editor Augustin Macellari Fashion Steph Wilson, Charlotte James, Caitlin Moriarty, Terri Capon Words Gwyn Thomas de Chroustchoff, Aurora Mitchell, Gemma Samways, Francis Blagburn, Jake Hall, SassyBlack, Jack Bolter, Akash Chohan, Jacob Roy, Aine Devaney, Nathan Ma, Adam Corner, Emma Robertson, Rob Bates, Gunseli Yalcinkaya, Joe Goggins, Nikki Blaylock, Xavier Boucherat, Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black, Lee Fairweather Photography Henry Gorse, Johanne Fick, Grace Pickering, Jennifer Lo, Tom Johnson, Hollie Fernando, Theo Cottle, Claudia Hector, Jake Applebee, Simon Green Illustration Ed Chambers Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack: advertising@crackmagazine.net CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd © All rights reserved. All material in Crack magazine may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of Crack Industries Ltd. Crack Magazine and its contributors cannot accept any liability for reader discontent arising from the editorial features. Crack Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material supplied for publication or to edit this material prior to publishing. Crack magazine cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to supplied materials. The opinions expressed or recommendations given in the magazine are the views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of Crack Industries Ltd. We accept no liability for any misprints or mistakes and no responsibility can be taken for the contents of these pages.

PRINCE Purple Rain PRINCE I Would Die 4 U PRINCE Erotic City PRINCE Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad PRINCE I Feel For You PRINCE I Wanna Be Your Lover

It’s an old British cliché to be preoccupied with the weather, and trust me, I wouldn’t write about it if I didn’t think it had some real significance. And when your bright spring afternoon is abruptly altered by showers of sleet and snow, when D’Angelo takes to his piano for a televised performance of Prince’s poignant ballad Sometimes it Snows In April that very evening, and when all the words that can be written have been written and you find yourself faced with the daunting-as-fuck task of acknowledging the loss of one of the greatest musicians to ever walk the earth, sometimes you’ve just got to leave it up to the forces of nature to pay a tribute grandiose enough for The Artist. And so, as you might have guessed, we’d like to dedicate this issue to the memory, and the eternal legacy, of The Purple One.

Davy Reed, Editor

PRINCE Take Me With U APPOLONIA 6 Sex Shooter PRINCE 1999 PRINCE Controversy PRINCE Do Me, Baby VANITY 6 Nasty Girl PRINCE Uptown PRINCE Get Off PRINCE Sign O’ The Times THE BANGLES Manic Monday PRINCE When Doves Cry PRINCE Do Yourself A Favour PRINCE Purple Music SHEILA E The Glamorous Life PRINCE & 3RDEYEGIRL Pretzelbodylogic PRINCE Screwdriver PRINCE & JUDITH HILL Million $ Show PRINCE Seven PRINCE Baltimore PRINCE This Could B Us PRINCE If I Was Your Girlfriend PRINCE Breakfast Can Wait SINEAD O' CONNOR Nothing Compares 2 U

Issue 62 | crackmagazine.net

Respect Prince Rogers Nelson Andy Burnham Laura Martin Alice Harvey Launa Blower Erin Elena Gallagher Metro Boomin


22

Recommended

O ur g uid e t o w ha t 's g o ing o n in y o ur cit y

LONE (LIVE) Patterns, Brighton 29 May

RICARDO VILL ALOBOS fabric 14 May

WE ATHER FESTIVAL Dixon, Ricardo Villalobos, Hessle Audio Le Bourget, Paris 3 - 5 June 96 €

THE GRE AT ESCAPE Craig David’s TS5, Porches, Stormzy Various Venues, Brighton 19-21 May Christ, have you seen the length of this line-up? You might align thoughts of Brighton’s cutting edge festival for new acts with guitars, but this year’s line-up proves otherwise: Elf Kid, D Double E, Stormzy and Logan Sama will be representing grime, Cakes Da Killa will be doing his bit for New Jersey rap, and Aisha Devi will be bringing avant-garde electronics to the seafront city. Of course, there will be more than a few guitars about too: Chastity Belt, Day Wave, Dilly Dally, Muncie Girls and Skinny Girl Diet would be our picks.

MARISSA NADLER St John on Bethnal Green 25 May

ADAM GREEN Electric Ballroom 12 May

In the northeastern Paris suburb of Le Bourget there lies a post-industrial sprawl that hosts one of the oldest aviation museums in the world. This summer Weather Festival will make itself at home in between the vintage aircraft, spacecraft and hangars for three days of house and techno heavyweights. Now in its fourth year, the event run by the team behind Paris’ beloved Concrete club remains split into four seasonal stages exploring the spectrum of electronic music. And they’re still not messing around – among the extensive line-up are the likes of Dixon, Donato Dozzy, Ben Klock, DJ Nobu, Motor City Drum Ensemble, The Black Madonna and Venetian Snares, while those looking for special one-off performances can witness Robert Hood play a hip-hop set, an ever-unpredictable live set from Actress or the rare sighting of Ricardo Villalobos b2b Zip. Oh, and there will be thousands of French kids relentlessly ‘avin it in an airport hangar for three days. Sold?

QUILT Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen 16 May

SHELL AC KOKO 31 May

LOVE SAVES THE DAY Dizzee Rascal, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Hudson Mohawke Eastville Park, Bristol 28-29 May We like to start our festival season off strong, and Love Saves The Day always drops at the perfect time. LSTD is vibrant, colourful and has a definite sense of humour, and the festival’s fun-loving fans have grown year on year in step with the excellent line-ups. Now in its fifth year, the weekender continues to impress: Stormzy, Hot Chip, and Dizzee Rascal are holding down the main stages over the weekend, and lower on the bill, Paranoid London, Joy Orbison, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Young Marco, Roman Flugel and more are ready to disco. Did we mention we’ve got a stage, too? With HudMo, Section Boyz, Awesome Tapes From Africa and more? Well, we have, so come party.

CHASTIT Y BELT The Dome 6 May MELT! Skepta, Tame Impala, Jean-Michel Jarre Ferropolis, Germany 15 - 17 July 136 € In our review of last year’s Melt! Festival, we called it “organised chaos at its finest”. We stand by that; as one of Germany’s most-prized festivals, it cuts an impressive figure on the landscape of electronic music events, not least because of its iconic venue Ferropolis, the industrial museum where giant cranes loom in the sky, enormous excavators tunnel towards the centre of the earth and everything is scattered around the shores of a truly beautiful lake. Melt! continues its legacy of adventurous booking with this year’s line-up, bringing together the likes of Tame Impala, Sleaford Mods, Skepta, Peaches and Jean-Michel Jarre alongside the cream of adventurous club music. If your idea of fun is being thrust into the middle of a Terminator-esque dystopian fantasy whilst listening to some of the best music in the world, then Melt! is the place for you.

BLE ACHED Moth Club 18 May FRESH ISL AND FESTIVAL Wiz Khalifa, Kehlani, Ty Dolla $ign Zrce Beach, Croatia 12 - 14 July £75 / £169 JESSY L ANZ A The Pickle Factory 18 May

FR ANKIE COSMOS Oslo 23 May

Seeing big names from the world of US hip-hop and RnB in Europe can be a tricky task. More often than not, one-off London dates get announced which sell out faster than Hilary Clinton hitting the dab and your favourite artists are back in Heathrow departure lounge before you ever realised they visited. Following on from a killer line-up last year, Fresh Island are putting that problem to rest. Located in sunny Croatia in the heat of summer, you can see heavyweights like The Game and Wiz Khalifa perform alongside the hottest names like Ty Dolla $ign and previous Crack cover star Kehlani. And according to reports, Fresh Island's a festival that does hip-hop parties properly.


23 CATE LE BON Oval Space 26 May

REKIDS 10 YE ARS Oval Space 29 May

BEVERLY Dalston Victoria 18 May

LOWL ANDS FESTIVAL LCD Soundsystem, Foals, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals Biddinghuizen, Holland 19-21 August

Radio Slave's Rekids label first established itself as an alternative to the ubiquitous minimal sound of the early noughties, offering up bigger and harder sounds in an era of restraint. Radio Slave and the label's roster continue to cut through the noise – since its revival in 2015 after an 18-month hiatus, Rekids has released a wide breadth of no-nonsense club tracks. Radio Slave celebrates 10 years of his famed house and techno label with some of its brightest stars at Oval Space this month, with New York techno mainstay and Plan B boss DJ Spider and Berlin-based New Yorker Evan Baggs supporting Dystopian's Rødhäd. Considering the quality upheld by this essential label, this is sure to be a stormer.

SECRETSUNDA ZE 29 May Oval Space + The Laundry Secretsundaze and daytime mischief are basically synonymous. These London party starters have been throwing their not-so-secret events in the cold light of day for as long as anyone can remember and they’re showing no signs of stopping any time soon. This bank holiday special will see sets from Fred P, Palms Trax and Shanti Celeste take over Oval Space in the day time before Funkineven, Patrice Scott and Henry Wu take on the night shift at The Laundry. Bask in a day-drunk haze soundtracked by these essential selectors.

ALL AN KINGDOM Birthdays 15 May

WHITE LUNG Dalston Victoria 26 May

If you’re looking for a small-scale festival with a widescreen vision, then Netherlands’ Lowlands Festival should be top of your shopping list. Yes, they’ve got the regular mainstream bangers you might expect fronting the heady heights of their bill, but look beneath, and treasures lie there, too. Irresistibly exuberant productions from Kaytranada, the rightfully blog-hyped Nao, The Internet, Chicago house queen The Black Madonna, Egypt’s Islam Chipsy & EEK, Thee Oh Sees and Warpaint are all thrown together, forming one of the most eclectic line-ups you’ll be glad to see this summer.

STEVE DAVIS / K AVUS TOR ABI (DJ SET ) Cafe Oto 6 May

K AGOULE The Lexington 11 May

TIM HECKER St John at Hackney 5 May

ISL AM CHIPSY & EEK Cafe Oto 2-3 June HUNEE + WILLIE BURNS Phonox 27 May £5-10

THE COATHANGERS Moth Club 5 May

For regular Crack readers, it’s probably clear by now that we’re big Hunee fans. With an adventurous but approachable music policy, Hun Choi’s got the ability to delve deep while ensuring that the dancefloor’s busy. Further incentive for attending this Phonox event is the lure of the equally intriguing Willie Burns. Under his many aliases, the New Yorker has experimented with the likes of Legowelt and Torn Hawk, releasing a diverse body of work via credible leftfield labels like Not Not Fun, The Trilogy Tapes and L.I.E.S. But like the artist he’s billed with here, Burns isn’t afraid to satisfy a crowd with some trusty 4/4 selections when necessary. A solid Friday night option.

A true master of sonic manipulation, Tim Hecker’s live set squeezes aural combustion from an array of technologies. The Canadian artist’s most recent album Love Streams is a collection of delicately swelling noise and super crisp production that constantly feels on the edge of explosion. With new material that’s as strong as (if not stronger than) anything he’s recorded in his 15-year career, we’re confident in saying that now is the time to catch Hecker live.

FIELD MANEUVERS Axel Bowman, The Black Madonna, Throwing Shade Location TBA 2-4 September £89

BL ACK LIPS Secret Warehouse Location 21 May

Field Maneuvers might not be one of the UK’s most well known festivals, but – now in its fourth year – word is getting out that it’s one of the best small dance events on the festival calendar. With a capacity that’s still restricted to 800 people, this year will see the likes of The Black Madonna, Throwing Shade, Ben Sims, Axel Bowman, Randomer, Studio Barnhus and Dance Tunnel’s Dan Beaumont play across the festival’s three small stages, while Jane Fitz and Jade Seatle will once again share their Night Moves expertise with their curation of the ‘Field Moves’ tent. If you’re craving a weekend of carefree raving that doesn’t let the standards slip musically, then Field Maneuvers is your best bet.


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New Music

HOT MASS Some of the strongest figures in South Wales punk rock have formed a supergroup and it’s fucking sick. Members of The Arteries, Dividers, and the sadly defunct hardcore outfit 33 are now Hot Mass, and what we’ve heard so far is more of the quality output we’ve already come to expect from their alternative projects. They’ve announced their arrival with a double-song shot from their forthcoming LP, Nervous Tensions, and despite the introspective lyricism that touches on wasting away, rotting down, and having your senses ripped away from you, there’s an overriding optimism that makes every song arresting and urgent – if you’re not listening closely, it’s almost party punk. After catching them live over the winter, we’d heartily recommend that, too.

HAPPY COLORS

JORJA SMITH Grime’s recent omnipresence has in some cases brought the impact of Dizzee Rascal back into public perception. One artist reflecting on his influence is 18-year-old Jorja Smith, who used his 2007 track Sirens as a launchpad to explore the negative stereotyping of young black men through her debut Blue Lights. Where Dizzee used speed and intensity, Jorja takes things slow; a potent mixture of yearning observation and social commentary inspired by her school project, her raspy, jazz-tinged vocals gave the theme a meditative edge. Followed by her exquisite turn on the softer A Prince, it was an impressive debut from Jorja, who works on music in between shifts at Starbucks, having recently moved to London from her hometown Walsall. With prodigious talent for dim lit RnB at its best, it’s another day, another formidable breakthrough from a UK female vocalist. And from the evidence offered so far, it looks like Jorja’s here to stay.

O Blue Lights 1 Amy Winehouse / NAO : @JorjaSmith

Prep yourself for the summer and get to know Happy Colors, the 22-year-old Miami-based producer who has made it his mission to breakdown whatever we think we know about reggaeton and LatinAmerican dance music as a whole. Since moving to Florida from the Dominican Republic aged 12, he’s consumed sounds from all over the globe. More importantly, he has developed a certain attitude where vibrantly infectious energy is of the upmost importance. Manically joining together strands of Bhangra, reggaeton and dancehall through one scattershot vision, this is the sound of a producer zipping across borders at light-speed.

O Cuando Yo Te Lo Meta 1

J Balvin / DJ Blass

: @DJHappyColors

KLEIN Klein’s music is underpinned by a strikingly on-point aesthetic. Her latest album cover looks like it could either be the result of a five-minute fuckabout on MS paint or the meticulously planned result of a Goldsmiths design thesis. After tracking her down, we’re no closer to finding out which is nearer the truth. “I was never allowed to indulged in art,” she told us via email. “Forbidden actually.” Yet, there’s something that feels completely honest about Klein’s mode of experimentation. Her music is grainy and raw, the kind of disorder that could be completely unintentional but also feels sweated over. On her new album ONLY, unmeasured beats, reversed vocals and obtuse groans sit alongside a sample of the very same Drake Vine that prefixed Skepta’s 2015 hit Shutdown. As an observer, it’s hard to point to the exact inspirations, but in conversation she cites “the ultimate donny from Bristol called Silver Waves” and RnB megastar Brandy as influences. Klein also points to her upbringing in a Nigerian household as a key factor in her musical genesis. “I come from a strong Nigerian pentecostal background where literally I was only allowed to listen to Kirk Franklin or Yinka Ayefele so that has definitely influenced my music,” she explains. “For a very long time gospel was all I knew.” The producer, raised between LA and South London, has been making music for a while but only recently found her niche. “In the past few years I’ve started messing around with things and bits and piecing them together and it’s sort of sounding alright,” she types as we’d imagine she’d talk. “I’d always made stuff but it was pretty hilarious, my mate Tia would tell you and say it was all Kate Nash covers because she was literally everything.” What makes Klein’s unapologetic mess so engaging is an overall sense of playfulness. From her internet-informed aesthetic to the wildly varied influences that permeate her work, everything seems ordered, and purposefully enigmatic. It’s a playfulness that seems symptomatic of modern times, an adverse reaction to harsh, sincere posturing. Klein and her peers are pulling out the rug from the pompous art world. About time too.

O Hello ft. Jacob Samuel 1 Oneohtrix Point Never / TheeSatisfaction : klein1997.bandcamp.com

TATE KOBANG While he’s been releasing music since 2011, East Baltimore rapper Tate Kobang broke through with last year’s Bank Rolls freestyle – a viral hit based on local legend Tim Trees’ 2000 track of the same name. “If Bank Roll come on, it makes you feel good,” Kobang said last year. “And that’s what we’re tryin’ to do, put some fun back into the city, because Baltimore is depressing right now.” Having won the support of veteran hip-hop mogul Lyor Cohen, Kobang recently released Since We’re Here – his first project with Cohen’s label 300 Entertainment, which is also home to Young Thug, Migos and Fetty Wap. Number 5 sees Tate Kobang repeat Bank Roll’s trick of effortlessly rapping over a spacious, danceable beat. A diverse record, Kobang also raps over the delicate pianos of Lie To Me, the hard-hitting boom-bap of Same Shit and croons in auto-tune on the melancholic Going Back. “Mama used to pray to God I’d make it out the trap / Love the fast money, no but I ain’t going back.” With solid label support and Swizz Beats overseeing a forthcoming debut, let’s hope Tate Kobang’s music career brings him the fortune his talent warrants.

O Nasty Girls ft. Blaqstarr 1 Kodak Black / Playboi Carti : @Tate_Kobang

O I Think I’m Done 1 Hot Water Music / Cloud Nothings : hotmass.bandcamp.com

O Track 1 File Next To : Website


LO N D O N May Bank Holiday Day & Night Party May 29th 2016 · 2pm-6am Oval Space & The Laundry Fred P · Funkineven · Patrice Scott Palms Trax · Shanti Celeste · Henry Wu Secretsundaze

B A RC E L O N A June 17th 2016 · 2pm-2am Parc Del Forum, Barcelona New Entrance from Josep Pla w/ Ronda Litoral Marcellus Pittman · Hunee · Midland Nick Höppner · Beautiful Swimmers · Palms Trax Shanti Celeste · Secretsundaze *** June 19th 2016 · Midnight - 5:45am La Terrrazza, Barcelona Leon Vynehall · Ryan Elliott Nummer - live · Secretsundaze


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Metronomy: Rose-tinted Rave Words: Gwyn Thomas de Chroustchoff Photography: Henry Gorse

As beams of magenta, cyan and yellow burst from the photographer’s psychedelic lighting, Joe Mount is holding a piece of steel mesh against his face. “I’m up for anything with this record,” he says, squinting slightly. Beneath the decadent mirrors and faded golden décor of an ante-room in his label’s Parisian headquarters, and seconds from the bewildering bustle of the Gare du Nord, earlier that day I’d interviewed Mount, the 33-year-old creative force behind the English electronic pop phenomenon Metronomy. He looks slightly out of place among the vintage French backdrop; largelimbed and boyish in his white t-shirt and thick brown curls. When he describes his inspirations, he twists energetically in his seat. “For me,” he says, “music is about moving or dancing – there’s something about motion with music. If the kids don’t care about what you do, you should think about what you’re doing, because pop music is for teenagers. If there are still teenagers at the front each time I go on tour, I’m fine. That’s how I gauge the success of Metronomy really – if young people are into it.” Mount’s experienced plenty of motion himself. Having grown up in, he says, a kind of vacuum on the edge of a quiet, bohemian village in Devon in the 90s, he’s now living in the French capital with two children, and he’s readying the new Metronomy album – his fifth in ten years.  As Metronomy, Mount’s debut album was tinkered into existence on his home

computer in his early 20s. 2006‘s Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe) was a noisy collection of instrumental tracks influenced by raucous French house and the melodic braindance of Warp records. With a lo-fi, punk attitude and natural pop fluency, it caught the ear of revered DJ, producer and indie remixer Erol Alkan. Mount tapped his cousin Oscar Cash and his friend Gabriel Stebbing, and suddenly Metronomy was a band, with an eager scene waiting to embrace it. Around this time, Alkan and his club, Trash, were central to the scene known, perhaps unfairly, as indie-disco, or – even worse – nu-rave. Some brilliant bands were emerging, and Nathan Barleys were wandering the streets like DayGlo hyenas in skinny jeans. “The Myspace days!” Mount smiles. “Everyone had access to everyone, no matter their level of fame... Erol Alkan got in touch on Myspace; I knew at the time that this was a really great thing because he was a really important tastemaker. He was the man that stamped the piece of paper: ‘approved’.” Incase there’d been any doubt that his music was more intriguing than many of the scene’s hype acts, Mount followed Metronomy’s raw, instrumental debut with Nights Out, a comparatively fleshed out studio album of intricately produced, but gloriously trashy electro-pop; with the infectious vocal choruses of sassy singles Heartbreaker and Radio Ladio hinting at the projects’ crossover appeal. It was a defining era that launched Mount’s career, but by the end of the decade, it was time to try something

different. In 2011, Metronomy released The English Riviera. Sweeter, slicker, and warmer, even the title spoke of opposition to the London scene he’d outgrown. Bursting with hummable, mathematically perfect musical equations like The Look and Corinne, Mount had enlisted new band members Anna Prior and Olugbenga Adelekan for a more indie-leaning sound, and the album was rewarded with a Mercury Prize nomination. Even after these sharp stylistic shifts, it was 2014’s Love Letters that represented the most decisive step away from his electronic past, with only one track, Boy Racers, retaining that DNA. Laden with soft, sweet harmonies and jangling melodies, this was guitar music influenced by complex 60s pop from Brian Wilson to The Supremes. He says it was a conceptual sidestep, a breather, frail, even, although he insists that “it was definitely both the album that I expected, and the album that I wanted.” The album broke new commercial ground for the band; it reached the top ten and saw them headline major festivals. They were indie superstars, and Mount could do no wrong. So was moving to Paris soon after meeting his French girlfriend another of those unexpected switch-ups that turned out so well? “I haven’t looked back,” he insists. “If you’re into music, you can do anything from anywhere.” There’s a narrative to Metronomy’s discography, and while Mount is casually reluctant to provide me with a neat conceptual framework for album number five, the record does have something

of a design, and it’s existed in his head for eight years. Feeding into it are memories of the summer leading up to the band’s first big break with the release of Nights Out: constant drunkenness, failed relationships, living in London and desperately trying to be cool. Growing up, it seems, has given him the freedom to finally make a liberated, light-hearted record about the angst and excitement of his younger self as he struggled with the surrealism of his situation. “Since that summer, I’ve not had a summer off,” he says wide-eyed, keen to make me understand the importance of this time. “From that point on, our lives changed into the lives of touring musicians. It’s a symbolic record. It’s a kind of companion record to Nights Out, but one which I couldn’t really have done then. It would have been a really bad album.” On the new album, the excitement of Metronomy’s earlier days is vividly painted; disco rhythms and neon synthesisers replace Love Letters’ acoustic guitar flourishes. The scuzzy atmosphere of the bygone London that forms the emotional backdrop comes through moments of gobby, discordant attitude, which inevitably get pulled into effortlessly tuneful conclusions – sometimes ecstatic, usually heartsick, often poignant.  “I did something I never did with the previous albums: I just made it for fun,” Mount tells me. “I didn’t wanna think about performing it live, how it’s going to work. It was genuinely a very pleasurable thing to do.”


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“If the kids don’t care about what you do, you should think about what you’re doing, because pop music is for teenagers”

“You’ve just got to splurge and get everything out; it really focuses you,” he says. “You’re loving every minute of it because you’re not having to care about anything else. You can become very narrow-minded and selfish, which isn’t a bad thing when making music at all.” And though he’s emphatic that there’s no analogy to be found between producing an album and raising kids, he’s discovered that the two processes are mutually beneficial. “Each puts the other into perspective,” he says. “Doing one helps you relax about the other.” While accessing the memories of a younger, wilder time for the new album, Mount had to shut himself off from his comfortable, middle class concerns. But he knows that fatherhood and financial success is taking him ever further away from the lovelorn, desperate character of his lyrics, and he’s aware of the potential for problems there – he doesn’t want to write songs about being complacent, to

stop writing lyrics about unrequited love. “There are warning signs – I’ve heard that happen to Paul McCartney, and it doesn’t sound good on record,” he says. “You survive by using music as your personal playground, your shed. The music I love reminds me of being a teenager, and it’s easy to access that. It would be slightly perverse if I ended up doing it at 45.”

invaluable; now that world understands the value of those people. People like Diplo and Pharrell, they’re producers, but they go beyond that. They’re orchestrating pieces of music produced by hundreds of people.” If he didn’t feel as passionate about the existence of Metronomy as he does, he’d focus on getting a credit on a Rihanna hit. “Maybe in ten years,” he says, hopefully.

On the new album, Mount plays all the instruments himself, apart from a little Hammond organ. “It’s the way I’ve always done it; that’s what I do,” he explains of the status of Metronomy, which is perhaps closer to a solo project than a band. “Part of the character of Metronomy, and the reason people like it, is that it’s my personality. Metronomy exists as a band when we tour and it exists as me in the studio. To me, it’s very easy to work with them both, and the band understand that.”

Any early concerns about Metronomy’s longevity, then, are a distant memory. He appears slightly surprised by how well things have gone, and his ability to mature for the demands of fatherhood. But for Mount, every unexpected twist and turn of Metronomy’s evolution has only reassured him that trusting his instinct usually pays off. And he’s already thinking about how he can flip things around next time.

“Also, they’re attractive people,” he says playfully. “If you’ve got a very talented, attractive drummer, and you’ve got a very talented, attractive bass player, who’ve got personalities, it helps.”

“What I’d love to do now is another instrumental record,” he says. “I probably will. The fans of Metronomy are so accepting. I feel very lucky.” It’s more than just luck that’s got Joe Mount this far of course. And beneath that cloak of downto-earth modesty, he probably knows it.

The bedroom producer is back with a vengeance, then. From our conversation, during which he gushes about Beyoncé’s new Diplo-produced track Hold Up, it seems that the idea of transitioning into a pop production powerhouse is incredibly appealing to him. “Bedroom producers are taking over the world,” he says. “Hudson Mohawke’s been producing for Kanye West and he’s just a bedroom guy too. What he’s able to bring to a track is

Metronomy’s new album will be released this summer via Because Music

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As one would expect, family life can be fairly incompatible with living a teenage pop dream. If you’re lucky enough to have a partner, Mount says, life’s full of grown-up things like compromise and time management. Mount found there was no longer time to make music while at home, and attempts to sneak laptopbased creative time on the tour bus proved worthless, and so to bring the new album to life, he booked a fortnight in a residential studio outside Paris and, in a very grown-up way, he was amazed by how the strict, time constrained isolation brought freedom to production.


“The physical side of listening to any sort of techno on a sound system with a big ass sub is really fucking cool�


Apeiron Crew: Four to the Floor

Words: Aurora Mitchell Photography: Johanne Fick

It’s a Thursday afternoon in April, and beams of sunshine illuminate the world outside. But as the day reaches 4pm, the sky becomes grey and overcast, and the spring sun is suddenly concealed. It’s a fitting shift in atmosphere, as a b2b2b2b radio mix from four lovers of dark, intense techno from Copenhagen begins to air. A week later, I pick up three of the Apeiron Crew at the hotel that they’re staying in during their brief visit to London. Having just travelled from their hometown, they’ve come here to play a party at Peckham-based record store and club Rye Wax with Siren, another female crew of DJs who are operating from London. While this is the second party that Siren has put on, they’ve already gained a reputation. “I got a huge recommendation from Ben UFO to the party. He was like, ‘it’s fucking great you’re playing there,’” says Najaaraq Vestbirk, who DJs under the name Courtesy. It’s a good fit; both crews share a similar ethos – playing mind-splitting techno while also being conscious of their significance as women in a scene that has a very notable gender imbalance. As we settle down in nearby café, Najaaraq, Emma Blake (Solid Blake – a play on Metal Gear Solid character Solid Snake) and Sara Svanholm (Mama Snake) are discuss how the crew was formed. Fourth member Simone Øster, aka Smokey, isn’t present with us, and

so Crack’s photo shoot is scheduled in Copenhagen the following week to make sure she’s involved. “When we first met, we’d all broken up with our boyfriends and we just hung out and partied together for like a year,” Najaaraq tells me. While she’s been DJing for 10 years – dipping in and out of other projects including music journalism, record label work and management as well as various activities with Red Bull Music Academy – the other three started playing out more recently. After working together in a record shop situated in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro district, the four women decided to form Apeiron Crew two years ago, and they’ve become good friends in the process. “That’s how you maintain your friendships anyway – you have to be doing stuff,” states Emma, who is from Glasgow. “Very early on in our working relationship, I remember Najaaraq saying ‘I want to spend my free time with people who I’ll also be working on projects with.’” To me [DJing as a living] sounded like something that was a bit ridiculous,” Emma says. “Yet I studied Philosophy, so I don’t know what the fuck I was doing.” After moving to Copenhagen and settling into the scene, the idea of a music career began to feel all the more realistic to her. While the crew might not seem overly concerned with making DJing their sole source of income, their passion for music

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is compelling. “For all of us, we want to continue DJing forever,” says Sara, who’s studying medicine and will graduate this year. “I probably won’t get shitfaced in the club until 8am when I’m 45, but I’ll probably still be playing, no matter what kind of doctor I’ll be.” Emma cuts in: “A surgeon and a wedding DJ.” Everyone starts giggling at the table. “The least booked wedding DJ ever,” Sara says. Separately, the four women have distinct styles as DJs – working through different strains of techno, house, electro and jungle – but they’re unified by their tendency to play hard and dark. “It’s not the jazz that makes people dance in our sets,” Najaaraq smirks. “I think some of that’s playfulness. For me, certainly, I like to play really hard sometimes because it’s fun!” Emma chimes in: “For me, when I want to play hard and dark in a club – it’s the energy. When you get a reaction from a crowd playing like that, when you can see the glistening faces of people sweating – it’s like, let’s just push it harder.” Najaaraq agrees that being able to experience it physically is one of the most appealing aspects of that approach. “It’s the physicality of the sub-bass,” she begins. “It’s cool to listen to at home and we all do but being able to listen to any sort of techno on a sound system with a big ass sub, the physical side is really fucking cool.”


Issue 64 | crackmagazine.net

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“When you can see the glistening faces of people sweating in a club – it’s like, ‘let’s just push it harder’”

Another genre which is very much about physicality and visceral reactions is punk, which has an established scene in Copenhagen. While Emma was going to punk shows while living in Glasgow, the rest of the crew have no roots in punk. For Najaaraq and Sara, they were more interested in hip-hop. “I wanted to be the first female rapper in Copenhagen,” Najaaraq tells me, barely able to suppress a laugh. However, they are noticing that there are parallels between the city’s established punk scene, noise and techno since they all started working together. “There’s a big crossover in Copenhagen,” Sara says. “My boyfriend is a pretty good example; him and his old punk and metal friends are listening to techno now and are into electronic music.” While the city doesn’t have a specialist store for dance music, there are techno records interspersed casually between rock records at the shops that do exist. When it comes to parties in the city, there’s one venue that dominates over the rest in regards to techno – Culture Box, where the Apeiron Crew are residents. “For the four of us, a crew, to be booked in a venue that size doesn’t happen that much,” Emma explains. Whether they’re putting on parties as a crew or separately, it’s imperative that the vibe, sound and setting is on point. “One thing we’re doing with our parties is decorating the whole club with flowers,” Emma remembers. “The first time we did it for the Lobster Theremin night, we bought real flowers and decorated the club on the Thursday night and by the time we turned up for the party on the Friday, all the flowers were dead.” Sara laughs, “It turned into a funeral vibe instead of a wedding one!” Emma

continues, “We were just like; we’re going to be the girls from The Craft, this is just a 90s teen party – we totally meant it to be that way… Second time we used fake flowers, and that worked because they stayed looking alive.” The Apeiron Crew’s joint ventures go beyond DJing and throwing parties, as they’re starting a label together called Ecotherm. One of the people involved in that process is the renowned engineer Rashad Becker – who’ll be doing the mastering for the releases. “I met him in Tokyo at Red Bull Music Academy,” Najaaraq recalls, warmly. “I love him, he’s the best engineer. We have Lobster Theremin doing the distribution and they’re really good friends of ours as well. Everyone that we’re releasing with is a good friend of ours – people that we really love.” With a well-received music policy and a string of Europe-wide bookings, the Apeiron Crew’s profile seems to be expanding. But while the increased demand might bring on more pressure, they’re in no rush to define things when they’re having this much fun. “We’re still figuring out what Apeiron Crew is – it’s constantly changing and I really enjoy that,” Sara says. “It’s hard to say ‘Oh, in two years this is what Apeiron Crew will be.’” Emma, perhaps thinking about all those flower-adorned club nights, jokingly rounds off: “It depends who’s off the rails, and who’s settled at that time.” soundcloud.com/apeiron-crew


Issue 64 | crackmagazine.net

Kamasi Washington: The Sky’s the Limit

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“My life is an expression of Black Lives Matter”

The words ‘This Is Not A Moment, This Is A Movement’ adorn hoisted homemade placards. Screen printed slogans such as ‘Demilitarise the Police’ and ‘Am I Next?’ are emblazoned on t-shirts. People are clapping, singing, marching, fighting back in a united endeavour for judicial reform. Since its formation in 2013 following the acquittal of George Zimmerman – the man who shot dead the unarmed AfricanAmerican teenager Trayvon Martin – the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has gathered great momentum in its campaign against the racially-charged injustice that’s defacing the moral authority of America’s law enforcement. Demonstrations are frequent. Racial injustice is front page news. It’s given voices to the silenced and, with the support of esteemed cultural critics such as Greg Tate, has forcibly refashioned the music and arts industry on an international scale. Commercially successful US artists such Kendrick Lamar, D’Angelo and Beyoncé have revived a discourse within their respected fields of hip-hop, RnB and pop with radical street cred.  Another artist endorsed by Tate is Kamasi Washington – a debonair giant of a jazz saxophonist from Inglewood, California. Recently, Tate lauded Washington as the “jazz voice of Black Lives Matter”. It’s a lofty accreditation, but a responsibility Washington might be willing to take. “It’s definitely a compliment,” he tells me over the phone. “My life is an expression of Black Lives Matter. As an African American man, we live in constant danger of society’s prejudices against us. We’re painted as dangerous, that it’s OK to use lethal force against us regardless of who we are but

based on how we look. That’s something I can never stop thinking about.” Washington’s affiliation to the movement is endemic to his musical output. Last year, he released The Epic on Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder imprint. The album is a three disc, three-hour combustion of extravagant soul jazz, fusion, funk, free form, Coltraneinfluenced orchestration and blank canvas experimentation. And despite employing a 20 person choir for the record’s choral cooings and vocal melodies, The Epic expresses its message with a brass-bound political backbone rather than with lyrics. “Music and politics are so connected,” Washington says, pausing for an extended duration of time, as if every word was a puzzle piece being put in to its rightful place. “Politics are policies that govern people. Music is the expression of thoughts that govern ourselves. It should go hand in hand, because one definitely affects the other.”      This synergy Washington speaks of is by no means newfangled, but a tool wielded by those strong enough to unshackle themselves from the confines of music’s commercial perimeters. The Epic is a trilogy loosely based on a sequence of dreams Washington had about a guard of a gate at the peak of a mountain. At the bottom of this mountain is a village where its inhabitants train to defeat the guard. This narrative, sheathed by its political radicalism, is an overwhelming dejection of the norm, a jazz album for jazz fans that has been recognised by a young mainstream audience. But for Washington, his jazz’s lawlessness is as natural as the changing of the seasons. “Definitely there is a question of whether to conform,” he

says, highlighting the restrictions of other commercial artists, “Like the mentality that all music has to fit in to one singular format for people to be able to enjoy it. I’ve never agreed with that. “But I know that argument’s there. I’ve felt that questionable pressure in my own music. Why’s it so long? Why’s it this? Why’s it that? The notion of being commercial, that somehow people want to hear the same thing, it just doesn’t work for me. The best music you can make is music that forces you to actively listen. Sometimes the business side of music forces artists to conform and to do what they think is safe. But making the best music you can make is the safest thing you could do. People may associate it with certain paradigms but just creating what’s within you, what you really think is dope, that’s the safest thing to do.”    One of these albums, Washington agrees, that forces you to listen is Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. Credited for playing alto saxophone on the record and arranging the track Mortal Man, Washington is reminded of the sobering experience of working alongside Lamar. His tone, however, suggests that we are far from realising the social gravitas of TPAB; a release Washington regards as “generation defining”.  “To make an album like that and to have it come out on that scale will change a lot of things,” he says. “I see the influence of that record. It may take a couple of years to realise because the album itself is so lush. It’s going to take future generations a little while to absorb. But it’s that same thing we were talking about; the notion that people need to hear the same thing. That


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“My music has multiple personalities. The album is only one realisation of the songs”

There’s a calm passion that rides with Washington’s answers and a degree of self-assured confidence that accompanies artists with decades of experience. The Epic may have been the band leader’s debut studio album, but the name Kamasi Washington can be traced back to the 90s. Born in Los Angeles, he was one of seven children of musician parents. It was his father, Rickey, that gifted Kamasi with his first set of instruments, including drums and a soprano saxophone. “As kids, myself and my friends were all pretty talented. There’s a gift and curse to that to kind of arrogance. People can say that you’ve arrived as a star much earlier than you actually have. My dad was always the voice of reality. I was always thankful for that. He’s super talented and placed me around musicians that were already established and gave me a very high bar to aspire to.” Washington spent his early career cutting his teeth in jazz clubs, forming a successful school band, The Young Jazz Giants, and later touring with the likes of Erykah Badu, Raphael Saadiq, Ethic Cali, George Clarke and Snoop Dogg. If not for these formative years, Washington says, he would not be as competent as a saxophonist as he is. His progress saw him join L.A.’s West Coast Get Down collective (WCGD), spearheaded by upright bassist Miles Mosley, and lead his own ten-piece band, The Next Step, consisting of WCDG members and Stephen ‘Thundercat’ Bruner. All of which culminated in the creation of The Epic. No one was paid for the

recording sessions in 2011. Instead, each musician contributed to the other’s personal projects. Everyone came away with more music than anticipated. Washington himself had the task of whittling down forty five songs to the seventeen that embody The Epic. Released four years after the initial recordings, he concedes that these songs have drastically mutated over time. “The staple way myself and The Next Step play is to never play the same music twice. It’s about the moment. Channeling everything that’s around us. My music has multiple personalities. The album is only one realisation of the songs.” For now, Washington’s primary function is to further develop on The Epic’s narrative in a live setting. The search for a sound, he says, is “an expression of life,” and one that he refuses to stop expanding on. Alongside The Next Step players, the saxophonist remains both contemporary jazz’s trusty old hands, and one of its breakthrough rising stars. “This is my own music, my own songs, my own style, my own expression,” he declares. “My past, living outside of public eye only to now share my sound with people is such a positive thought. You only get one life. Music is just a huge part of life so I choose to spend it doing something meaningful. Maybe what you do benefits to the construct of what people say music has to be. That’s cool too. But there are so many people in the world. We don’t have to do the same thing. Could you imagine if we did? All seven billion of us?”   Kamasi Washington appears at Sunfall, London, 9 July and at Dimensions, Croatia, 27-31 August

Words: Tom Watson Photography: Grace Pickering

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album couldn’t be further removed from the classic construct of what popular hip-hop should be. But it is popular and it definitely opened the door for self-expression. Not to be overdramatic, but it’s one of the most important albums in the history of music.”


Issue 64 | crackmagazine.net “The Breeders, wasn’t it?” Lead guitarist Sophie Nathan is trying to recall the one artist that every member of The Big Moon can agree on. “I still haven’t listened to The Breeders, apart from that one song,” drummer Fern Ford admits. “Yeah, we all said The Breeders, but Fern said she didn’t know them,” verifies frontwoman Juliette Jackson, causing bassist Celia Archer to exclaim in mockhorror, “Oh shit!” “Oh yeah! And then she started dancing to Tom Jones,” recalls Sophie. All four burst out laughing. “We all like Mellow Magic?” Celia offers. Considering the four of them only met a couple of years ago, The Big Moon are incredibly tight-knit. Over the course of our conversation, they’re constantly completing – and murmuring approval to – each other’s answers, riffing off each other’s jokes, and simultaneously exploding into laughter. In 50 minutes, there are only three differences of opinion. The first regards Zayn Malik’s morals (Juliette reckons “if you went out with him, he wouldn’t be faithful,” while Fern insists he seems like “a really nice lad”), the second surrounds their favourite motorway services (three quarters of the band rate Tebay, but Juliette declares its lack of Greggs “fucking bullshit”) and the third stems from the loan of a cerulean Hawaiian shirt: a vintage find and a dead-ringer for the Miu Miu number Leonardo DiCaprio wore in Romeo + Juliet. It’s this easy chemistry that makes the quartet such a fun live proposition. Where other hyped young guitar bands might view a booking at London’s 100 Club as an excuse to ham up cooler-thanthou posturing, The Big Moon walk on to Millennium by Robbie Williams, and spend the show bouncing around the fairy lightstrewn stage, trading quips and teaching

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The Big Moon: All Friends Here

the audience breathing techniques. As Sophie explains, “We want people to be a part of it,” and Juliette echoes her sentiments, “The last thing that we want to be is intimidating.” Their energy is infectious too, as evidenced by the youthful, largelymale front rows – who bellow back Cupid’s “Sorry I’m not your guy” chorus – and the platinum-haired teenager who clambers onstage to dance along to set-closer Sucker. “She was super-cool!” Juliette exclaims, “Really glittery, like a My Little Pony.” “I was like, man, you’re doing a better job of owning this stage than I am,” concurs Celia. Stage invasions have been a regular fixture of the band’s first headline tour. “In Hull, it got a little bit rowdy, just teenagers who wanted to get fucked up,” recalls Fern. “But there was this one kid, just stood in front of my drum kit with his arms outstretched, signaling, ‘I got you, don’t worry.’ I was just like, ‘Thanks man…’ I have an NVQ2 in ‘Spectator Safety’, which is why I take these things very seriously,” she jokes, and Juliette retorts with a laugh, “Which is also why we wanted her in the band.” Juliette formed the group while waitressing in London. “It was leading to nothing, and the only other thing I could really do was play the guitar, so I was like, ‘Maybe I should try to start a band and be a rock star!’” she laughs. “I started asking everyone I knew if they knew anyone who might want to be in a band with me, and desperately tried to work out how to write songs.” There was no vision for the band as such, and her only recruitment criteria was “people that I could drink beer with.” “I didn’t want a situation where anyone got bossed around or bullied,” she elaborates. “I’ve been in bands where there’s a leader, and whenever you write a song or do

something creative, you’ll just get shut off. Or someone will tell you that you’re rubbish at your instrument, or crap at singing, or you’ve got no sense of timing, and then you’re like, ‘Oh, maybe I am crap!’” Sophie agrees, “It makes such a difference to have people around you who encourage you.” Juliette’s songwriting is thriving in this supportive environment, and the band’s output so far ranges from the frenetic, punk-y Eureka Moment to anthemic indiepop like Nothing Without You and latest single Cupid. When I meet with the band, they’ve just finished making a video for the latter, which involved inviting friends to take aim at them with paint-filled Super Soakers and glitter, in a dank Dalston basement usually hired out as a film set for crack dens and torture scenes. As Fern puts it, “bad things have definitely happened there.” The song itself is sung from the perspective of a young man preparing for a night on the pull, and lyrically it showcases Juliette’s penchant for pairing romance with “really mundane”, everyday detail. It’s also become vaguely notorious for the line, “Pineapple juice / Tropical Rubicon courage,” which is, in fact, about the practice of men drinking pineapple juice to try and make their cum taste nice. “But that’s quite a sweet gesture if you think about it,” Celia jokes. “Literally, sweet.” Following two singles via Father/Daughter records, and an immediate wave of hype, there was something of a scrum to sign them, resulting in what Juliette describes, with a cackle, as “a good month or so where people were buying us dinners quite regularly.” Fiction Records won out in the end. “They didn’t put any pressure on,” explains Juliette. “I remember one of the guys saying, ‘You can be as big as you want to be. We’ll support you in whatever you do.’” And how did the quartet reply?

“I think the word was ‘Beyoncé…’” Fern retorts, and all four shriek with laughter. “You can only really write the songs that you’re ever going to write,” Juliette adds, pragmatically, “But it’s nice we have the freedom to do what we want to do.” The Big Moon’s immediate plans include a few live dates in France, a string of festival engagements, and – at some point – taking time out from touring to record their debut album. “I’m so eager to do it now!” Juliette wails. “We’ve got loads of songs. We’re just working out how we’re going to record them, which ones to record, who to record them with, and when to do it. But I’m so impatient.” So what about longer-term goals? “To have our own practice room,” Fern groans. “So we don’t have to share it with another band who tells us off for putting the lights on.” “There’s more though,” Juliette continues, “I want my mum to be able to tell her friends that her daughter’s in a band, and for them to maybe have heard of us. I suppose I’d just like people to take the songs to their hearts, and sing along to them when they come on in the car. Or if they got played on Mellow Magic in ten years time,” she exclaims with an exaggerated gasp. “That’s it! We just want to be on Magic FM.” Cupid will see a limited vinyl release on 13 May via Fiction Records Big Moon perform at End of the Road festival, taking place 2-4 September at Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset


Words: Gemma Samways Photography: Jennifer Lo

“It makes such a difference to have people around you who encourage you”


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John Cale: Tear into Your Fear

Although it should be raw and visceral, the rebellious urges of rock music can flourish when merged with the avant-garde. Many musicians have coupled the primitivism of rock with the ideology of artistic experimentation, and many have succeeded in doing so with the help of John Cale. Cale is, of course, most famously known for his work with the Velvet Underground. With his insistence on corrupting Lou Reed’s three chord classics with his shrieking, droning viola and commercially suicidal swathes of lo-fi distortion, the two Velvet Underground albums that count Cale as a member formed the very blueprint of art rock, and they’re arguably the most stylish LPs in the entire rock ‘n’ roll canon.

Issue 64 | crackmagazine.net

But there’s so much more. Alongside around 16 solo albums and countless collaborative works, Cale’s forever earned a footnote in music history with production work for the likes Brian Eno, The Jesus Lizard and Super Furry Animals, as well as debut albums by Patti Smith, The Stooges, The Modern Lovers and the Happy Mondays. The concept of “rock legend” as we currently know it might be fading from us, and the news is regularly filled with obituaries for the musicians who defined 20th century music. With Cale’s peers Lou Reed and David Bowie passing away in recent times, what does he feel these days when he’s reunited with fellow countercultural icons such as Patti Smith or Iggy Pop? “It’s confirmation of what I felt when I first met them,” he tells me over the phone, his deep Welsh accent still prominent. “They’re still around, they’re still doing it, they haven’t changed and they’ve still got the force. I mean, when I first saw Iggy and I first saw Patti I thought ‘this is going to be around for years.’ There’s so much strength there.” The concept of Cale’s 2016 re-make album M:FANS began life with Cale’s invitation to perform Music For a New Society, a

“lost classic” which had been out of press for many years, at a Danish arts festival in the autumn of 2013. Two months after the concert, Lou Reed passed away – an event which has had a profound emotional effect on Cale. With his enormous discography to choose from, Cale rerecorded Music For New Society track If You Were Still Around, which would be released the following year alongside a nostalgic music video to mark the anniversary of Reed’s death. From Cale and Reed’s polarised musical visions prompting Cale’s departure from the Velvet Underground in 1968, to their 90s reunion disintegrating when the pair struggled to remain on amiable terms, the tension of Cale and Reed’s bond was always the source of much speculation. Lyrically, If You Were Still Around expresses a resentful longing for a disinterested or absent loved one, and there’s a sense of tenderness beneath its aggressive imagery: “If you were still around / I’d hold you, I’d hold you / I’d shake you by the knees / Blow hard in both ears”. “I kept my head down for most of a year,” Cale tells me of the months following Reed’s death. “I thought, ‘it’s going to come around again and I’d better figure out what the best thing to do is.’ And I thought that the words in that song were really apropos. I think the track dealt with the issue elegantly, respectfully.” Along with If You Were Still Around, Cale had undergone the cathartic process of gutting and refitting the rest of Music For a New Society – the recording of which he has described as both “excruciating” and “torturous”. Recorded at New York’s Sky Line Studios in 1981, by this point Cale had emerged from the deepest depths of his mid-late 70s excess (at a particularly insane and mythologised Croydon gig in ‘77, Cale severed the head off a dead chicken with a machete during a twisted rendition of Heartbreak Hotel before tossing it into a crowd of horrified punks) but he was far from achieving sobriety or

inner peace. “I tried to put it all out there,” he says of the album’s cheap, improvised recording process. “The rule was ‘it doesn’t count unless the tape was rolling.’ We went through about five or six days of doing that, and then stopped it. I really wanted internal dialogue to be part of that album, a lot of it. And I guess that’s what makes the album a little difficult to grasp.” “A little difficult to grasp” is one way to put it. Opening with Take Your Life In Your Hands – a song that tells a mother’s story and alludes to imprisonment, murder and suicide – Music For New Society is a minimal and unsettling portrait of John Cale’s psyche at this point in his life. In M:FANS’ press statement, Cale expressed a desire to re-imagine the album’s characters from a different emotional standpoint – “what was once sorrow, was now a form of rage,” he wrote. Musically, Cale gave the songs more muscle, warming them with fuller instrumentation and modernising them with thudding 808s, autotuned vocals, distorted guitars and a sense of determined rigour in his voice. The vulnerable Thoughtless Kind had been transformed with booming pop production, while the crumbling percussion of the once miserable Sanctus (Sanities) was replaced with a gothic industrial techno thump that doesn’t sound a million miles away from the German metal group Rammstein. M:FANS wasn’t the first time Cale revived an entire album. He’s performed his solo album Paris 1919 various times in recent years, and in April he played 1967’s Velvet Underground & Nico in full at La Philharmonie in Paris. As the Velvet Underground’s debut album, the songs encapsulate the band’s glamourised early period, of which the backdrop has formed the fabric of a million countercultural fantasies – tales of musical, sexual and pharmaceutical experimentation; of the writers, drag queens, bohemians, socialites, sex workers, speed freaks and junkies


“But we had a lot of fun doing it in Paris I tell you,” he insists. To paraphrase a classic Brian Eno quote, The Velvet Underground & Nico only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band – and Cale aimed to illustrate this diversity of influence with the show’s roster of guests, which included Animal Collective, French model and singer Lou Doillon, Mark Lanegan, alternative rapper Saul Williams and The Libertines’ Pete Doherty and Carl Barât. “There were a lot of people from publishing houses with their own ideas about what we should be doing, and we didn’t like them,” Cale says. “The way they’ve done the Nico [tribute] shows, it’s always been about young, female artists. It was very difficult to find someone who could sing Heroin. I tried to think of a female singer who could do Heroin, and I didn’t come up with it. But I thought Saul was excellent.” Rather than an inability to let go of his younger days, these revisions of Cale’s back catalogue, it seems, are motivated by the thrill of mutating the material into something new. From leaving home in South Wales’ Amman Valley as a teenager to experimenting in London and New York alongside avant-garde musicians such as the Fluxus collective, John Cage and La Monte Young, Cale has always leant towards the radical, and over the course of the five decades of his career, he’s somehow never lost that thirst for innovation.

Issue 64 | crackmagazine.net

gathered at Andy Warhol’s Factory; of Nico’s ice-cold glare, the strobe-lit psychedelia of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, and so on. So, I ask with my fingers crossed for amphetamine-fuelled anecdotes, what does Cale enjoy about revisiting those memories when he’s playing the songs? “I don’t enjoy it,” comes his blunt response. “I’ve done it, and I learnt my lesson. I mean, you’ve really got to stay a distance away from that. Because you don’t want to be in the middle of a performance and suddenly have flashbacks of where you were when you wrote it,” he chuckles slightly. “I left that behind years ago, and I really don’t want to rejoin it right now.”

A recent example of Cale’s futurist experiments is 2014’s Loop>>60hz: Transmissions from The Drone Orchestra show, which saw him team up with “technological storyteller” Liam Young at London’s Barbican centre. The first of their kind, for the two performances Cale played with a band while the UAVs buzzed around the venue like mechanical dragonflies, undermining the technology’s menacing, militarised image. “It was out of control, but


47 Words: Davy Reed Photography: Tom Johnson

“Iggy Pop and Patti Smith haven’t changed and they’ve still got the force. There’s so much strength there”

it worked,” Cale remembers of the show. “There were people who were running the drones who had pilot licenses. And you really had to organise your drama around battery time. It was like running an aircraft carrier. For someone to really pull that show together, you needed to know the songs. It’s pretty funny, the aircraft controller was my manager,” he says with an audible smile, “because she was the only one there that knew all my songs.” For the last decade or so, influential critics have lamented the unimaginative archeology of retro culture, expressing anxiety about the perceived absence of innovative populist movements since the mid 00s. As a famously forward-thinking musician, I’m intrigued to know what genres Cale listens to in order to hear human emotion expressed in new ways. “There are a lot songwriters who don’t think in terms of the old ‘verse, chorus, verse, bridge’ kind of thinking,” he says. “People like Earl

Sweatshirt. That kind of structure is really strange, it just kind of rambles through the song. It’s really interesting, Sweatshirt has this laconic use of structure. I like the way he drifts. Him and Chance The Rapper.” For the next five minutes or so of our conversation, Cale continues to discuss his interest in contemporary hip-hop with passion, referencing Chance, Vince Staples and producers such as Carnage, HitBoy and No I.D. “The movement and the view points are really expanding,” he says excitedly. Loyal fans will know that Cale’s appreciation of rap music is nothing new. But still, there’s something encouraging about such an experienced musician recognising the avant-garde potential of hip-hop – a genre which continues to grapple the mainstream while generating new trends in production, language and dance – but is often discredited by the elder gatekeepers of cultural credibility due to moral scrutiny, deep-seated racial prejudice or because of its use of minimal resources. “I wonder what these people were thinking when they made the record,” Cale says on his hip-hop discoveries. “I listen to the recording techniques – they’re minimal sometimes – but they work. A lot of the stuff I hear comes out of Akon’s studio in Georgia, some from Chicago. It’s out there, you’ve just got to go look for it.” At 74 years old, John Cale remains remarkably active, culturally curious and unafraid to open emotional wounds. And so, I ask before our conversation comes to a close, what is it that drives him to do so? “I think we’ve gone over this already – it’s anger, and impatience. There are a lot of different ways of telling a story,” he says, pausing slightly while considering how to conclude. “So when I come in to do a record, I try to break as many rules as I can remember.” M:FANS / Music for a New Society are out now via Double Six / Domino. John Cale performs with Festival of Voice Ensemble and Chorus at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, 3 June


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Produced exclusively for Crack by Anna Higgie - www.annahiggie.co.uk

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Many Miles Ahead: The Blissful Wanderings of Steve Gunn Words: Tom Watson Photography: Hollie Fernando

“It’s hard to comprehend life in the state I’m in now,” Steve Gunn realises. In an effort to purge himself of jet lag, he swigs from a hulking mug of piping black coffee. It’s mid-afternoon and he hasn’t been awake for long. Yet through his travel worn weariness comes an adamant warmth and sensitivity. His muted tone invokes a feeling of tranquility. Gunn explains that this state of excessive movement and living in constant flux is something that has taken over a decade to perfect. “It can be hard to ascertain, but nowadays my motivation stems from being on the road. Things become simplified in this abstract way. You just have to get to the gig and play. But that’s what I love,” his brow gently sinks below his shades. “I mean I hope I love it, because I do it a lot.” Steve Gunn’s work ethic is vigorous. Since the release of his 2007 self-titled debut, the Brooklyn-based songwriter has woven a concentrated patchwork of LPs, EPs, singles, splits and one-offs. From collaborative work with indie folk treasure Kurt Vile and ‘post-everything’ instrumentalist Mike Cooper, to picking alongside old-time Appalachians, Black Twig Pickers, Gunn writes with such a momentous frequency it’s as if time decelerates for him. As a self-taught guitarist, composer and, latterly, a singer, his luscious deconstruction of Americana tinged

blues, country and psychedelia switches between the accessible and the experimental. His instantly discernible finger-picking guitar style has a very human, physical feel to it, and it’s helped him gradually gather an international, cross-generational fanbase. Eyes On The Lines, his 14th studio album and first to follow his recent signing to Matador Records, delves further into the Gunn’s songwriting capability and gently affirms his burgeoning confidence as a performer. “That’s something I’m always working on,” Gunn begins, “Trying to improve my confidence. I did a lot of touring as a solo act. I had to hold my own and drop any selfconsciousness. I would always get really nervous, sing inside of myself and not let my guard down. Today, I have no guard to let down.”

you’re going to end up. In our present time, everyone’s concept of getting lost both mentally and in the physical world is changing. People’s perspective of just taking a walk for walk’s sake is pretty alien to most because they’re too concerned about what their final destination is. It seems like no one can just say ‘fuck it, I’m going for a walk.’” Part of the enjoyment for Gunn is to reinterpret his own collection of abstract thoughts, the memories that are stored away in the recesses of his mind while he’s on the road. “Seeing the world this way is warped,” he says. “Touring life is like this different window into reality which is not actually reality. You’re just passing through and nothing’s really tangible with your environment. I write mostly on the road and usually it’s reflecting where I am and that moment. Briefly living in that place. Lyrically and conceptually I’m always trying to deal with that. When I get home, I try to make sense of what I was thinking. I lock myself

don’t want to say I felt trapped there but I needed to make a step up from where I was. It has this habitual cycle where maybe you’ve hung out in the same bar. I started seeing that life within myself of just going to work and drinking myself to death. Was it possible for me to do what I needed to do there at the time? No. I needed to put myself in a place where I didn’t know anyone. That was New York.” Yet Gunn still presents himself as some kind of nomadic drifter; the proverbial guitar wielding stranger. One particular line from Eyes On The Lines that encapsulates Gunn’s constant creative wandering reads: ‘Landscape of repetition, drained out at the service station’. Reciting this out aloud makes him smile meditatively. “I can remember exactly where I was when I wrote that. We were on a 50 day tour stretch last year. The longest stretch. We were in the UK, on our way to Manchester and stopped off in Birmingham. I was drinking coffee. Zero energy. The whole thing just felt like a different world to me. These images, these couple of seconds, snapshots of memories are the biggest sources of inspiration available when all you see is the bus, the hotel, the stage. They sort of become your home away from home.” Gunn’s coffee finished over an hour ago and he’s now moved on to a pint. With energy levels revived, his mood remains stoically gracious and forthcoming. Dwelling on the Matador signing, he begins to weigh up his considerably taxing press circuit over the coming months. It’s overwhelming. But despite Eyes On The Lines assured to be his most physically and mentally ambitious release to date, his experience leaves him perfectly placed to handle the pressure. “I’ve been hustling for years,’ he concedes, arms casually nestled around his drink, “But this is how I work. I write, tour, and just let the songs live. It’s like an infinite loop. The wheels are forever turning. It’s just about trying to savour it all while it lasts.”

“I got lost within my own head. I’ve started to embrace the concept of being comfortable with that”

Being unguarded is not to say Gunn has nothing left to expose, explore or prove. Eyes On The Lines, he expresses, maintains a loose conceptual arc based on “living with ideas and just letting things happen”. According to Gunn, this is the first time he has fully permitted himself to “get lost,” to allow every thought to exist naturally and without obsessive revision. “Nothing is too weird anymore,” he says. “I never really thought about songwriting as a practice before, but now I’ve just got lost within my own head. I started embracing the concept of being lost and being comfortable with that; trusting where you’re going and not fearing where

away and construct everything. So I’m working with all the material from my ‘road mind’. It puts me back in that place.” Place and time is clearly elemental to Gunn’s perception of reality. He tells me about moving away from his hometown in Philadelphia to his current base in New York, the latter a city which offered the foremost opportunity to seriously consider music as a full-time career. “I love Philadelphia dearly but there’s a cloud there,” he reminisces with a sagged, wistful timbre to his voice. “It’s a tense place to be. As a young college student I just had this desire to explore in every sense and the closest outlet for that was New York. It just enables you to be anonymous. Philadelphia is different. I

Eyes On The Lines is released 3 June via Matador


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Sebastiaan Pieter: Subtle Subversion Although the current menswear industry is more progressive and original than ever before, there’s still a distinct lack of sex on the LC:M runways. Sebastiaan Pieter is a Dutch designer looking to remedy this. Through his label PIETER, he aims to create classic pieces rooted in wearability. But it’s the label’s subtle references to gay subculture that sets his designs apart. His last collection incorporated a variety of silhouettes which ranged from one piece inspired by a bulletproof vest to an oversized flamered shirt adorned with bondage strap details. As the straps would suggest, the designer’s target client is “a man that is sexually aware of his body; he is very confident, but he also refers back to the structure of traditional menswear.” With hints of subversion and leftfield references buried within Pieter’s collections, there’s also a continued emphasis on structure and wearability, which stems from his tailoring background. This focus on wearability has resulted in consistently strong collections, NEWGEN sponsorship as well as a selection of big-name clients such as Harvey Nichols buying into his commercial vision. “In any collection you need pieces which stand out on the runway,” Pieter tells me, “but you also need those clothes that you can wear every day. If not, you end up with a wardrobe full of really crazy pieces that you can never really wear more than once.” Despite originally pursuing experience in the magazine industry, Pieter settled on fashion design after an internship at Jil Sander. It was here that he worked personally with designer Raf Simons, an experience he credits with teaching him the demands of running a successful fashion label. For Pieter, seeing Simons’ fabled working process first-hand illuminated the curatorial elements of a role as Creative Director. “It was amazing because Raf was really there. I could see him styling, making decisions on looks and establishing what the message was that he wanted to put across.”

At the helm of his own label, Pieter retains a similar level of creative control, encompassing everything from model casting to runway preparation. Despite fashion shows often being written off as glorified trade shows, Pieter remains convinced that it’s one of the strongest tools in a designer’s creative arsenal. “It’s the one moment that all attention is on your brand, so it’s important to share everything you can.” Pieter’s enthusiasm for the runway is refreshing; in fact, many industry insiders are beginning to question whether the catwalk is still necessary in a world of fashion film and static presentations. There’s also the continued debate surrounding a see-now buynow approach, which has already been adopted by a slew of industry behemoths looking to satisfy the instant cravings of impatient consumers. The result is an unprecedented demand on young designers who are now expected to offer up collections just days after their runway debut – a demand which Pieter says is impossible to meet. “Right now I don’t see there being a‘right’ way to do business,” he says. “Obviously see-now buy-now is tough for young designers – you can’t stock up on something you haven’t shown yet because you don’t know people are going to respond to it”. Pieter also argues that buyers could be deterred from investing in young talents. “For an uneducated consumer, it just makes them more frustrated about waiting six months when they know they can now get it from other brands immediately.” Nonetheless, Pieter is optimistic that buyers will see the appeal of buying unique pieces from young designers. His own designs, for example, are aesthetically pleasing and commercially viable yet draw from a pool of leftfield references. Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe – the artist infamous for his sexually explicit, blackand-white photographs documenting New York’s BDSM scene in the 70s – was a key inspiration for his last collection. More specifically, it was one image of a chained-up, leather clad gay couple that sparked a wave of creativity. References to this particular photograph appeared in the form of small, multifunctional straps and rings attached to clothing which, Pieter says, could be worn as anything from a bracelet to a cock ring. Although these minute details are easy to miss, the designer remains adamant that their buried nature

makes their inclusion more interesting. “We mentioned Mapplethorpe without giving the image, but a lot of people that were interested in my work already knew that photograph. They appreciated the reference, but even those that didn’t know it still appreciated it on an aesthetic level”. In fact, the most subversive element of Pieter’s work is that references to gay culture and subtle femininity are woven quietly into collections. Fashion has already turned ‘androgyny’ into a buzzword, and recent runways have included men of all shapes and sizes: perhaps the most interesting way to work femininity into menswear is to do so without trying to make a statement. There’s something strangely intriguing about the details hidden in these clothing; their subtlety means that someone could stumble upon Pieter’s latest collection in Harvey Nichols and unknowingly purchase a sartorial ode to gay bondage photography. Incorporating controversial references into everyday pieces, it’s this kind of attitude that could actually drive menswear into a truly progressive era. PIETER SS17 shows as part of NEWGEN MEN at London Collections: Men, 10 - 13 June

“My target client is a man who is sexually aware of his body, but he also refers back to the structure of traditional menswear”


Words: Jake Hall Photography: Theo Cottle


ROBERT PLANT & The Sensational Space Shifters THE FLAMING LIPS perform The Soft Bulletin

UK EXCLUSIVE

UK EXCLUSIVE

CRYSTAL FIGHTERS / PAROV STELAR / LIANNE LA HAVAS GOLDIE & HERITAGE ORCHESTRA perform Timeless GLASS ANIMALS / MATT CORBY / SHURA / TOURIST GEORGIA / ROSIE LOWE / ELIAS Long-Table Banquets

RAYMOND BLANC / SKYE GYNGELL / VIRGILIO MARTINEZ Communal Feasting with Favourite Restaurants HIX / MORO / PETERSHAM NURSERIES PATTY & BUN x PITT CUE Co. FEASTS The Late Night Valley

A LOVE FROM OUTER SPACE with... ANDREW WEATHERALL & SEAN JOHNSTON

JACKMASTER / DERRICK CARTER Does Disco GOLDIE Influences Set / TOM MIDDLETON / PBR STREETGANG THE ATRIUM SUPPORTED BY TIME OUT

RONNIE SCOTT’S PRESENTS ROY AYERS

The Wilderness Orchestra presentS a tribute to David Bowie James Rhodes / Rambert / The Place / Sadler’s Wells Dancing through the days and nights

THE CAROUSEL hosted by Shangri La, Continental Drifts & Global Local...

HACKNEY COLLIERY BAND / CUT CAPERS / JENOVA COLLECTIVE

THE JUKE JOINT hosted by Petersham Road...

Son of Dave / Hannah Williams / Ephemerals / Kansas Smitty’s THE TRAVELLING FOLK BARN Hosted by Front Room Songs, Woodburner, Two For Joy, The Local & EFDSS...

MARTHA TILSTON / MAD DOG MACREA / 47SOUL Grand Ceremonies & Spectaculars

THE SATURDAY NIGHT SPECTACULAR / FIREWALKING CEREMONY WILDERNESS CRICKET MATCH HOSTED BY BEARDED KITTEN Talks & Debates across 7 venues THE V&A / THE RSA / the school of life / SUNDAY PAPERS LIVE / FRONTLINE CLUB / ANTONY BEEVOR MARTIN REES, ASTRONOMER ROYAL / CHARLOTTE CHURCH with ZOE WILLIAMS / a.c. grayling Theatre OLD VIC NEW VOICES / SUPERBOLT THEATRE / LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES / ROGUE THEATRE Wellbeing THE MAE DELI BY DELICIOUSLY ELLA / HOTPOD YOGA / XTEND BARRE/ YOGA & MEDITATION The Great Outdoors WILD SWIMMING / THE LAKESIDE SPA / ARCHERY / FORAGING & BUTCHERY Families & Games V&A LEARNING / STORYSTOCK / POLKA THEATRE

PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY


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The apocalyptic anxiety of Thomson & Craighead’s Party Booby Trap

War, nuclear waste, the apocalypse. The human genome, dread. Thomson & Craighead’s new show at London’s Carroll/Fletcher gallery, Party Booby Trap, isn’t the cheeriest prospect. Their back catalogue explores, among other things, how subjective individual experience continues to be – even in the face of our now almost-universal access to information, as supplied by the internet and contemporary technology. They also interrogate the value and authority of social systems like money, or time, which on the surface provide us with structure and order. Tackling questions like these, the artists’ collaborative practice might seem intimidatingly intellectual.

Issue 64 | crackmagazine.net

This exhibition also fronts as particularly heavy going: drawing on end-time prophecy and the Book of Revelations; the sonic similarities between bursting balloons and artillery fire; the mapping of the human genome as a backdrop for two wars and the fall of a state; six years of Mondays. However, the gloom, plus any worries about impenetrable theory, dissipates quickly between my 8.30am Skype interview with the duo and a lunch-hour’s surprisingly blissful immersion in their challenging and important show. Thomson & Craighead’s remit is twofold. On the one hand, they confront society’s predisposition towards blithely accepting the familiar as natural, and on the other, they dispassionately challenge our ability to view anything dispassionately. Which is to say they reject any pretence

of an objective viewpoint, instead acknowledging that we can only understand the systems that govern us from our position within them: knowing they can’t see the wood for trees, their turn their focus on the forest’s ecosystem. The duo’s process, it turns out, is anecdotal; ideas, bits and bobs gathered from travel and reading inform time in the studio. “We like to be in the studio,” says Alison Craighead over the Internet from Rome. “We like to make, and we like to play. It could be that one of us starts doodling, or starts playing with stencils and doing some bad watercolours, but from looking at them a dialogue starts.” This dialogue is expansive, simultaneously occupying a micro- and macro-viewpoint of the world. Party Booby Trap expresses this awareness of the human experience throughout – playing on the paradox of our capacity to understand things, without ever really knowing them. Humanity has become oddly stretched; consensus opinion has it that we’re currently entering a new geological epoch – the anthropocene – where regardless of the impact we have as individuals, or even civilisations, the environmental effects of our actions will be felt across geological time; and will be too huge for us to fully understand. And so, for the first time in the Earth’s history, a species able to rationalise and comprehend its own insignificance finds itself changing the biosphere. For the worse, as well.

Taking this into account, it’s no wonder that apocalyptic visions are finding a foothold in contemporary culture. A mood of worry is probably the only reasonable response. This troubled atmosphere finds its voice across all the works in Thomson & Craighead’s show. With Stutterer (2014) they engage with the confusions of scale, impact and time that lie at the heart of humanity’s self-image. Stutterer uses the smallest parts of us as a frame through which to view a recent and significant period of geopolitical change. The human genome is comprised of a code of more than three billion base pairs of DNA molecules. It’s basically incomprehensible, but at some fundamental level DNA is divisible into one of four camps, as a type of nucleobase: cytosine, adenine, thymine or guanine. The Human Genome Project was an internationally funded research initiative that sought to map the complete human genome; to order the three-billionlong series of C, A, T and G that makes up our DNA, and by extension issues the genetic instructions that control all of our organic development. The project took 13 years, from 1990 – 2013.  Stutterer draws at random from an archive of film from this time, issuing an uttered word beginning with one of the four letters that makes up the billionslong string of repeating characters which itself describes the code for the human genome and runs simultaneously with the footage. If allowed to run and run


Issue 64 | crackmagazine.net

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Thomson & Craighead, Stutterer, 2014 Two-channel moving images, generative software Courtesy of the artists and Carroll Fletcher, London

The First Person, 2014, Generative video

“We’re not trying to offer dictates or doctrine, we’re just trying to share information we can all critically engage with”


Untitled (Balloon work), 2016

Words: Augustin Macellari

the project would, after 60 or so years, complete the sequence of the genome in a mad and relentless string of words that, through circumstances of their initial utterance, paint a portrait of the 90s and early 00s. Thomson & Craighead use this thirteenyear interval as a framework, a start and end point. Archive footage from within the intervening years describes more than a decade of quite considerable change. These fixed points of beginning and end additionally grant the artists the opportunity to dispense with the fallacy that time is linear; the pre-programmed words (500 currently, but more being added to the database as and when) in the television footage are randomly drawn upon as the sequence unfolds, so that chronology is dispensed with.  Instead, Stutterer plays as something more akin to memory, where an arbitrary trigger (in this case one of four letters) prompts free-associative flashes from the depths; as with memory, some supply their own context (archived news footage where words like ‘terrorism’ explain themselves when spoken over footage of a plane) and others float in a chronological void.  This way of viewing memory – as a confused jumble, rather than filed neatly in chronological order – is a bit unpleasant. Thinking in accordance with linear time provides a logic, a way of comprehending our existence as a narrative, the story of our lives. This system of understanding is culturally reinforced, by the significance of a first memory, or the in description of important events as ‘milestones’ in a life lived.  Rejecting this institution exposes us to

a difficult, but illuminating, formlessness. The evocation of a disordered consciousness, highlighting our familiarity with the free-associative, exposes the jumble of our minds and at the same time underlines how external time, as a system, really is. It makes us question time. As Craighead says, Stutterer can be seen as a kind of clock. “It doesn’t tell you the time, but it maybe tells you about humans and what happens in that time period.” Clocks are elsewhere in the show as well; opposite Stutterer, A temporary index (2016) counts down the innumerable seconds until repositories of nuclear waste, desperately entombed deep underground in concrete around the world, have degraded to the point that they no longer pose any sort of threat. In some cases, this is millions of years. An esoteric branch of research is dedicated exclusively to the challenge of warning future civilizations about the dangers of unearthing these repositories. “One of the big deals about nuclear semiotics,” says Jon Thomson, “is how information is preserved and transmitted into the future. Religion is one of the better mechanisms.” There’s a grim joke here; the idea that a “nuclear priesthood” could exist to establish cultural taboos against visiting certain contaminated areas is undermined by Thomson & Craighead’s own treatment of the Book of Revelations – the wildly vivid Biblical foretelling of the Apocalypse. The artists have broken its colourful adjectives and imagery down and, with the help of a perfumer, designed a scent, Apocalypse (2016). The aroma of the end times, it’s cloying and not a little bloody. Sweet also, and with a distinct minerality. It’s a reduction of one of the fiercest myths – and

motivators, for generations of Godfearing Christians – into the basest of contemporary commodities. Scent, says Thomson, “Is a very emblematic product for a certain type of commercialism, or a certain capitalistic tendency within our current environment.” Each highlights the other as absurd, the fear of the past commodified as the junk of the present. There’re more apocalyptic prophesies in this show, and there’s war. Discordancies and similarities: burning houses and Self Help jargon, bursting balloons and conflict. What ties it together, and what redeems if from total grimness, is the absence of any sense of moral authority on the part of the artists. In fact, the only bum note comes from a small print, the war on terror (2016), which jumbles that famous slogan up into a list of absurd anagrams – the implied criticism, extending the nonsense of the words to the war itself, is a little too explicit to fit with the rest of the show. Without casting moral judgment Thomson & Craighead risk coming across as nihilistic, but in fact the opposite happens. Even nuclear waste is treated baldly, as a fact of the world. Crucially, the symptoms and possible effects of the anthropocene are held up to the light as they need to be discussed: both as an incontrovertible fact of the world, and from within. “We see ourselves as participant observers,” Thomson says. “We’re not trying to offer dictates or doctrine, or be didactic in any particular way. We’re just trying to share information and then create frameworks which we can perhaps all critically engage with.” Party Booby Trap runs at Carroll/Fletcher, London, until 15 May


M o re a c t s a

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EEK EN D W T L U D 85 A L IM I T ED £ N SA L E N OW O TICKE TS J U LY 2 0 1 6

Y 30TH S AT U R D A , S O M E R S E T ——— & H T 9 2 Y F R ID A —————— , BRU TON B E FA R—M———————————— A ZIN E .N E T G IL C O M— K M AG ———— ————— K / CR AC .U O .C L A IV T FA RM F ES


THE SHOW 4–8 June ����

Art, Design, Film and Journalism UWE Bristol Degree Show City Campus at Arnolfini, Bower Ashton and Spike Island www.uwe.ac.uk/theshow


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Aesthetic: George Mitchell

For a band known for thunderous live sets and a feverish frustration with the world, Eagulls are remarkably understated. Since the release of their 2011 debut single Council Flat Blues, they’ve been variously heralded as the harbingers of a punk revival. But talking to the band’s frontman George Mitchell, it’s clear that the Leedsbased outfit aren’t keen to over-indulge in the hype. “I personally don’t feel part of a movement right now,” Mitchell confirms. “There are bands who sonically are writing music with similar interests to us, but I still feel as if we just don’t fit in.” It’s a outlook that pervades the band’s approach to writing and performing music – standing out from the crowd without the need to seek attention; simply not fitting in, in a good way. “Perhaps it’s down to the small town syndrome I experienced as a youth,” Mitchell muses, referencing his upbringing in Ripley, Derbyshire, a town that witnessed a steady decline after the closure of its coal mine in the late 80s. The downbeat surroundings of Ripley proved a stifling environment to grow up in, but the frustrations this created are key to Mitchell’s sense of identity today. “The claustrophobia of small town living and the small town mentality has always been something I’ve been intrigued with from a young age. I could never seem to grasp why people wished to just follow in the mundane footsteps of their peers, and I despised the way they reacted to difference, so I naturally adopted a likening to music and with that came a different taste in fashion. I’m glad I grew up where I did... It challenged me to be individual and placed me out of the comfort zone of the norm.” Drummer Henry Ruddel also hails from Ripley, and it was his embryonic band that Mitchell joined when the two both lived in Leeds, spawning Eagulls. “Leeds has always seemed quite individual to me in

its sense of style,” Mitchell says. “There are a number of different cultural tribes all chucked together under one roof, and there doesn’t seem to be that one trend flowing through the core of city, like some cities tend to have. I really enjoy that aspect of Leeds as it doesn’t hold that one characteristic in which you could sum it up with. In ways, similar to our band.” The diversity of Leeds’ musical heritage bolstered Mitchell’s ability to express himself lyrically, which itself bleeds into the broader outlook of the band: Mitchell is the first to acknowledge the city’s holistic impact on his life. “The changes and experiences of living here most definitely affected my mentality to write the lyrics I do, and perhaps it has subconsciously shaped the way in which I perform and dress.” There’s certainly a lot to take inspiration from, not least from Leeds’ musical golden age, a period in the late 70s and early 80s, when post-punk outfits like Gang of Four and The Mekons were lighting the city up. But despite the ostentatious streak in his personality and stage presence, you’re unlikely to see Mitchell in deliberately outlandish clothing. Quite the opposite in fact. “Sometimes I wonder if I subconsciously dress like the characters from L S Lowry’s paintings,” he says, showing off the almost comically precise self-awareness he so often exhibits lyrically, before cutting himself down. “Or perhaps it’s just because I’m a lanky piece of piss in plain clothes. Not sure.” Mitchell cites Bowie as a key influence on his style (“more Thin White Duke than Ziggy era!”), and it’s easy to see the connection – he might seem unassuming, but within his simple aesthetic he harbours a fierce confidence, and it’s this that’s so interesting about him: his ability to brandish individuality in plain clothes. Eagulls’ sophomore album Ullages is released 13 May via Partisan Records

Photography: Steph Wilson Words: Francis Blagburn Styling and Direction: Charlotte James Stylist Assistant: Caitlin Moriarty Hair & Make Up: Terri Capon


Top: Homme Plisse Issey Miyake Jacket: Nosomnia


Top: Adidas from Urban Outfitters Trousers: George's Own


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Shirt: Homme Plisse Issey Miyake  Trousers: George's own Socks and Shoes: George's own


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Jumper: Wan Hung London Trousers: George's own


Shirt: Homme Plisse Issey Miyake  Trousers: George's own Socks and Shoes: George's own


Shirt: James Long Trousers: George's Own T-shirt, belt and shoes: George's own


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Jacket: McQ Alexander McQueen Shirt: James Long Trousers: George's Own Belt: George's own


RY X DAWN

THE DEBUT ALBUM OUT NOW

F E AT U R E S T H E S I N G L E S ‘ O N LY ’ & ‘ D E L I V E R A N C E ’


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Live BABYFATHER Bloc, London 7 April

BRYSON TILLER KOKO, London 30 March Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, Bryson Tiller’s trajectory stepped up a gear in the second half of 2015. After high profile cosigns from the likes of Timbaland, Tiller swiftly inked a deal with RCA and dropped his debut album Trapsoul. Tiller is every A&R’s fantasy. He sings like Frank Ocean, he raps like Drake and he sounds like The Weeknd. It’s a perfect storm. With just a single spotlight flickering behind him, Tiller enters the stage shrouded in shadows with his signature cap sitting low on his brow – never giving the audience enough to break the enigma that keeps them hanging on. Tiller has already racked up a surprisingly impressive catalogue, and Exchange and Right my Wrongs have the crowd singing back every lyric, to the point that Tiller’s own vocals are near drowned out. Tiller kept the audience engaged throughout, keeping it short and sweet. Darting from Let Em Know to the sultry Don’t, he showcased his ability to move between singing and rapping, a balancing act which Drake’s all conquering commercial clout hinges on. It is clear that Tiller has siphoned off a corner of Drake’s audience, peddling the same kind of evasive vulnerability and lovelorn tough talk. Only time will tell if Tiller can build an empire as unconquerable as his Toronto contemporary but – even with his subdued personality – this show demonstrated that he’s on the right path.

N

! Jacob Roy Claudia Hector

Smoke. Lots of it. Yeezy Season 2 desert tan toned smoke. Enough to obscure the group onstage almost entirely. But then this was to be expected. Babyfather is a trio of made up of Dean Blunt, DJ Escrow and Gassman D – and the latter two members’ identities are shrouded in even more mystery than Blunt’s. From doors until 10pm, DJ Escrow shelled songs by the likes of Ruff Ryders, Giggs, Sneakbo and Vybz Kartel, while picking up the mic to provide adlibs. During the show that unfolded, the music was often compromised of long, merciless blasts of industrial noise. Before the smoke fully enveloped the dark room, the Union Jack flag was draped in front of Escrow. The aesthetics and artwork surrounding the Babyfather project are inherently British, whereas in this setting the sonics of the album itself sounded closer to the Ruff Ryders era of US hip-hop. As these sounds were coupled with material such as Esco Freestyle – named in reference to the late grime MC from Slew Dem crew, it created an atmosphere that relates specifically to those who’ve been raised in the UK and have been heavily influenced by hip-hop from across the pond. At one point, Blunt led a chant of “No more parties in E8”, to the melody of Kanye’s No More Parties in LA. The majority of the people in the room were white. Dean Blunt often finds himself in situations where he is held responsible for the toxic, appropriating areas of the experimental scene, leading to misconceptions that he is creating black art in mind for a white audience – even though the demographic his music reaches is an after-effect that’s outside of his control. A lot of great music that can be loosely described as experimental is, like any form of art, prone to appropriation. However, the blame shouldn’t be placed on Dean Blunt’s shoulders as a black musician. Diasporic artists shouldn’t be held responsible for their entire scenes (in which they holistically exist as political) when white musicians are comparatively afforded zero accountability and the ability to create freely. That the experimental scene is largely a self-preserving white audience does not mean the artist of colour’s music will not resonate with and inspire a person of colour, particularly one from their own race. Speaking to NPR Music recently, Blunt described his recent experiences of walking around his native Hackney: “That’s the only time when it’s nice, when I see any brother or sister from my area that was like me, but maybe not quite like me at that time, and just they end up going to art school. And I didn’t go to art school. I didn’t go to any university. But they end up just having a wider perspective.” The narrative of identity and heritage was weaved into the atmosphere of this gig. Through references DJ Escrow made about his Jamaican roots, to Beenie Man being wheeled over the ‘This makes me proud to be British’ mantra (a sample of one of Craig David’s 2000 MOBOs speeches), to Union Jack balloons being filled with NOS and sold to the audience, Blunt’s art remained as vague and visceral as ever. !

Akash Chohan

PUSHA T Kesselhaus, Berlin 25 April

SNOWBOMBING Mayrhofen, Austria 4 - 9 April Snowbombing, the weeklong smash in Mayrhofen, Austria is now in its 11th year and continues to provide entertainment at a frenetic pace for those who like their party laced with plentiful levels of madcap behaviour and, of course, snow. Due to the frenzied nature of the partying schedule, those that make it onto the slopes before 10am are gifted snow, empty slopes and killer conditions for pristine carving. In terms of musical highlights, the atmosphere reached fever pitch with Skepta and Craig David’s rapturous receptions in the colossal Racket Club, where the huge production value cannot be underestimated, whilst the Mobilee Records finale with Anja Schneider was as wonky as anyone could expect. Yes, there are enough onesies to make V Festival blush, but Snowbombing’s charm stems from the people and the pleasure seekers. Mayrhofen is absolutely buzzing for the duration, and getting wrapped up in the traditional Austrian charm (and excellent beer) isn’t difficult. Taking what you want from the plentiful amount of activity and decadence on offer makes this impeccably organised festival a must for those with an equal eye for electronic music and snow. ! Thomas Frost N Jake Applebee

Pusha T is a veteran of the rap game. Tonight’s packed crowd at Kesselhaus – his second of two Berlin shows – is testament to the Virginia rapper’s enduring impact on long-standing fans, and his ability to find new ones. Having being inaugurated as the president of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. music imprint, Pusha T refuses to look down on new hip-hop, instead embracing each modern era and blending it with his own inimitable style, something reflected in the mix of ages going for it in tonight’s crowd. Dressed in black, his hair in signature braids, he kicks off with a pounding rendition of the Intro from December´s Darkest Before Dawn LP, before launching into M.F.T.R. He’s been working hard – with his next album King Push due out this summer, this is still a show in support of last December’s Darkest Before Dawn “prelude”, and the songs from that album forming the spine of tonight’s set. Amidst the adventurous beat selection, Pusha T is an intricate rapper, as he demonstrates impressively when performing the opening bars of F.I.F.A a cappella, before a slick rendition of 2013´s incredible Kendrick Lamar collaboration, Nosetalgia. Numbers on the Boards, during which he enthusiastically marauds from one side of the stage to the other, is definitely one of tonight´s highlights, as is Grindin´ by Clipse – the duo that originally shot Pusha T to notoriety in alongside his brother Malice. A true showman, he completes this short, powerful set with an encore that climaxes with Future’s Move That Dope. As he spits ferocious coke raps over Mike WiLL Made It’s mutated bassline, he draws the evening´s most boisterous crowd reaction. A class act.

N

! Jack Bolter Simon Green


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Releases

05 07

06

09

08

ALL SAINTS Red Flag Universal All Saints had a stab at a comeback 10 years ago. Their 2006 Studio 1 LP was caught in a sales war against greatest hits collections from both George Michael and the Sugababes. The competition was too stiff, and the album entered at number 40 before falling significantly from that spot in the weeks that followed. A decade later, and the tides have changed. In 2006, their reunion was promoted as a group who “still had it”. Their voices were marred by tacky electro-RnB production and their personalities obscured by ill-advised attempts to appear current. And while Red Flag won’t be the most inspiring pop record you’ll hear this year, it flourishes everywhere the last attempt fell flat, with crisp vocals, clear melodies and a performance style that feels natural. One Strike, One Woman Man and This Is A War all exude an innate confidence, one where age and life experience is presented as dignity and wisdom rather than something which needs to be concealed. Things derail a bit in the second half of the record – don’t make the mistake of playing Ratchet Behaviour if you’ve got company – but this album is that rarest of pop commodities. It’s a comeback that we can collectively get behind. This is a nice follow on from the days of Timberlands and camouflage cargo pants during the peak of New Labour. Back then, All Saints were presented to us as a credible tonic to the Spice Girls’ manufactured silliness – four women approaching the charts with honesty and composure. Red Flag isn’t exactly a home run, but it’s good to see them slip back into those roles so effortlessly. ! Duncan Harrison

GREYS Outer Heaven Carpark VARIOUS ARTISTS DJ Koze Presents Pampa Vol 1 Pampa

BEYONCE Lemonade Parkwood / Columbia

CHARLES BR ADLEY Changes Daptone Records

DJ Koze is on a hot streak. After a universally drooled-over DJ Kicks compilation, he’s back with an unmixed compilation on his own Pampa records, and it’s another peach. The album kicks off slightly strangely – not even Matthew Herbert’s dreamy but precise remix can rescue Lianne La Havas’ almost unbearably sad Lost and Found from itself. But this is a rare misfire. And once Koze’s remix of Roman Flugel’s delicate and melodic 9 Years blows the cobwebs away, the rest of the album is a beautiful, woozy insight into the Pampa philosophy. Dntel turns in a sparkling, nostalgic track, all padded synths and chopped chimes. Michel Cleis’ Un Prince comes over like a lost and bleary Balearic ballad from Prins Thomas. And even the notoriously po-faced Mount Kimbie seem to have got the good-times memo, with the percussive, Maurice Fulton-esque Bells. Mostly, the track selection here is meticulous, with soulful motifs and gentle pop samples lodged between smudgy, summery rhythms, and Jamie xx/Kosi Kos providing the album highlight with the stupidly good Come We Go. The album closes with Acid Pauli’s Nana – a sprawling, redemptive piece of ambient techno – and a cut from Koze himself. Occasionally, this compilation is too nice for its own good, but it’s hard to argue with selections from a DJ who has carved out a space in leftfield house and techno all of his own.

The debut full-length from Toronto noiseniks Greys wore its influences pretty firmly on its sleeve. Guy Picciotto and the Hüsker Düreferencing Flip Yr Lid were among the track titles on an irrepressible punk record that didn’t really do anything new, but satisfied with its viscerality. There was also, as the above influences suggest, evidence of a real melodic vein to their songwriting, albeit one often cleverly buried under the sheer weight of the volume dial. Last year’s Repulsion EP coaxed that side of Greys out into the open a little more, suggesting that their next album would have them moving in firmer fashion towards that kind of territory. Sure enough, Outer Heaven sacrifices a little of the out-and-out energy of their debut If Anything for a touch more poise and restraint, and it sounds a more polished in production terms too. If It’s All the Same to You lurches from a bratty slouch to an explosive chorus at the midpoint, while the simmering menace of Erosion shows real signs of progression to the blunt force approach of their debut. There are, however, clear teething pains as well. Strange World stretches the loud-quietloud dynamic too far – by the time it explodes violently into life, it’s already tested the listeners’ patience more than necessary – and the topsy-turvy My Life as a Cloud is an awkward note on which to close proceedings. The potential is clearly abundant in Greys, and at this rate of output, they’ll continue to get closer to realising it; Outer Heaven takes a noble stab, but doesn’t quite pull that off.

Lemonade is so much more than an album; it’s a deep immersion in black art. Throughout the politically-charged audio-visual project, Beyoncé quotes Somali-British poet Warsan Shire and explicitly references Malcolm X’s Who Taught You to Hate Yourself? Among those featured in the hour-long epic are Zendaya Coleman, Amandla Stenberg, and Quvenzhane Wallis, young actresses who have been handpicked by B herself. Here, Beyoncé is laser focused on delivering her potent message of empowerment, and she is unafraid. Intertwining autobiographical elements with the universal emotions of love, betrayal, and redemption, Lemonade is unapologetically forthcoming, showcasing Beyoncé’s capacity for ferocity, both vocally and via its hard-hitting production. Since its release, there has been much speculation that Lemonade’s lyrical content is an open door into Beyoncé and Jay Z’s marriage, and there are also instances where lyrics potentially allude to the dissolved relationship between Beyoncé and her father. Whatever the exact inspiration, Lemonade is an iconography for black women, a pictorial novel of strength and salvation illustrating the grieving process after heartache. These themes are well executed, staging the journey through denial, rage and wrath, acceptance, then forgiveness. The tracklisting traces this arc from the aching Pray You Catch Me, Sorry and 6 Inch to the tender Love Drought and All Night. With frequent references to religion, both visually and lyrically, Beyoncé turns to God to help her understand that the storm, can, and will, pass. Forward is a pivotal point, joining Beyoncé after this hurricane of emotion. “Go back to sleep in your favourite spot just next to me,” she sings, allowing her lover to return to her most intimate space, and revealing her willingness to fight for true love. Lemonade represents an artist using vulnerability to connect with the world in order to seek healing and forgiveness. Freedom, which also includes an impassioned verse from Kendrick Lamar, celebrates the significance of feminine strength: “I break chains all by myself / Won't let my freedom rot in hell / Hey! I'ma keep running / Cause a winner don't quit on themselves.” In the album’s visuals, these lyrics are paired with appearances from the mothers of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Mike Brown – each victims of police brutality. Aside from peering into Beyoncé’s personal affairs, this album allows the listener to dig deep and appreciate the journey of black women who understand the idea of community and the ultimate power of salvation. Beyoncé has provided a visual album that helps us fully comprehend the power of self-healing and forgiveness. Instead of a fragmented story, this cohesive visual novel vividly details the grieving process as a whole. Lemonade is, intellectually, a reflective piece of work connecting the historical past and present with personal, emotional scars. Through Lemonade, Beyoncé forces us to be in tune with ourselves, to be honest with ourselves, and to decide that liberation from pain and suffering is a reward worth living for.

The tone is set for Charles Bradley’s third studio album on the opening song, a cover of God Bless America, in which he sweetly pledges his love to his country before being joined by a gospel choir for a rousing chorus. Where on previous LPs he’d asked us “why is it so hard to make it in America?” and crooned that “the world is going up in flames”, Changes is more consistently positive, reflecting on the changes Bradley has been through in his life. Some years on since the discovery that drove him from a life of struggle to finding success in his sixties, the world may look like a happier place to the screaming eagle of soul. Anyone lucky enough to have witnessed the recent live tour with His Extraordinaires will testify that the shows brim with love and positivity. However, the sadness still lingers. Bradley thinks of his late mother when singing the title track, a cover of Black Sabbath´s Changes. And on Change for the World, he reflects on current race and violence issues, before howling out a positive chorus. Soul covers of alternative classics have been a key feature of Bradley´s recording career – to date he’s covered Nirvana, Neil Young, and now Black Sabbath. However, original lyrics here on Good to Be Back Home and Nobody But You are a truer reflection on the outlook of this incredible character. Bradley may have the power to emotively apply other artist’s lyrics to his own life narrative, but it’s the original material here that makes Changes most honest record to date.

! Adam Corner

! Joe Goggins

! Nikki Blaylock

! Jack Bolter


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LUH Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing Mute “I am done,” said Ellery Roberts, when he abruptly left WU LYF in 2012 and effectively dissolved the band in the process. “I am bored of the most challenging thing in WU LYF being deluding myself of its relevance.” Roberts broke the news both to their fans and apparently his bandmates publicly and without any prior warning. As much as he did not seem a chap averse to melodrama, he had a point. WU LYF’s cleverly-constructed cloak of mystery – chaotic live shows, an initially bare-bones online presence – seemed like such an affront to the press in the information age that by the time their stellar debut Go Tell Fire to the Mountain did surface, the music had almost become an afterthought, with attention instead largely focused on the group’s refusal to play media ball. Roberts has laid fairly low ever since, but the refreshing thing about this return as LUH (stands for ‘Love Under Heaven’) with audiovisual artist Ebony Hoorn, is that the music is basically all we have to go on. Roberts’ voice, a scratchy howl that seldom sounds less than impassioned, remains remarkable, and his penchant for sonic drama survives intact from his WU LYF days, too. Opener I&I builds from a piano introduction to an all-encompassing sonic swell, the murky Beneath the Concrete lays an urgent vocal over a thumping beat and a bed of ominous synth, and Here Our Moment Ends, a desolate soundscape of electronic loops and sparse guitars, provides the platform for some tense storytelling from Roberts. Hoorn is a terrific foil for Roberts vocally, with her clear, soft tones taking the edge off of his considerably less varnished approach, and whilst there’s missteps over the course of what is a sprawling LP (the choppy AutoTune of $ORO is a case in point), this is a stirring first effort from a band that’ll hopefully outlive Roberts’ last. ! Joe Goggins

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VARIOUS ARTISTS When I Was 14 Trip

VARIOUS ARTISTS Selectors 001 - Motor City Drum Ensemble Dekmantel

MARIA USBECK Amparo Cascine

Eagulls' maturity as a band solidified somewhere in the middle of a relentless touring schedule, one which consumed the last two years and took them from small-town sweaty dives to serious festival dates. Gone are the songs about heroin and the nasty letters to other bands. In their place is Ullages; an album contemplative in its songwriting and bathed in slower, fuller and lusher sounds. It’s not without faults: album opener Heads Or Tails doesn’t push the right buttons with its theatrical and stop-start drums, and instrumental Harptstrings feels unnecessary. Yet, when singer George Mitchell speaks of “escaping himself”, the shimmering lines of Euphoria hits a personal resonance the band have never pressed. Indeed, for the most part, the heightened production values sit well and Mitchell’s vocals are piercing, with a dream-pop delivery on standout Blume. While the comparisons to the foremost pioneers of these tones from the 80s (Cocteau Twins, Magazine) are inevitable, the reality is that Eagull’s elevation from their former, gritty four-chord punk sound shows encouraging signs. On single Lemon Trees, lead singer George Mitchell sings, “Beneath the lemon trees, lies bittersweet, we share a nation’s consciousness, drown our thoughts to sleep”, and on Skipping, he muses, “Each night the needle slipped, does existence have some more than this?” While there’ll be fans disappointed with Ullages’ lack of immediately gratifying punk anthems, Eagulls’ disaffection is now barbed with poetry as opposed to venom.

Whatever else they might tell you, there’s an ego in every DJ. Each time they play, the DJ is effectively saying, ‘I have the best taste in this room. Now listen to me prove it.’ Danilo Plessow has been proving it for years, and now he's shared a few of his favourites from his 15,000-strong record collection for the first of Dekmantel’s new ‘Selectors’ compilation series. Opener DJ Slym Fas’ Luv Music is classic Plessow: dusty Rhodes sample, crisp live-sounding percussion, and a vocal so sunny it’s probably hastening climate change. Risque III’s Essence of a Dream is an interesting choice, leaning as it does to the freakier end of Chicago house, while we get some of Plessow’s sharpest, sassiest disco cuts in Bill Deal’s Freak n Freeze and Raphael Green’s Don’t Mess With The Devil. The latter even comes with an interesting story: Green is now a bishop involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, and Plessow had to personally call up a St. Louis church to get permission to include the song. It’s a nice vignette, indicative of the lengths to which Plessow will go to impress and entertain. Unusually for something like this, it’s an unmixed compilation of songs, rather than a mix. But as well as being excellent in their own right, the selections cohere satisfyingly, making sense in the context of Plessow’s career as a selector. His absence in the production makes his presence in the selection all the more detectable; he’s hidden in plain sight, manoeuvring behind the journey from A1 to D2, quietly confident he has the best taste in the room.

An exotic soundscape of bird calls and Latin-style percussion opens Amparo, the debut album from former Selebrities vocalist Maria Usbeck, whose new project sees her put to the side the heavily Cure-influenced, guitar-laden dreamscapes for a more rooted sound. Reminiscent of traditional bossa nova classics like Girl From Ipanema, the Ecuadorian-born singer aims to restore ties with her native South America with an album that takes inspiration from Ecuadorian music alongside field recordings of beaches and jungles. For those familiar with Usbeck’s work as part of Selebrities, the album will come as a surprise, as primal drums pulse as steady as a heartbeat, while instrumentals consist mostly of flutes and harps rather than guitars and synthesisers. From the nostalgic chordic slides of Isla Magica, named after a theme park in Spain, to the unusual breakdowns of Uno de tus Ojos, Usbeck takes elements of South American music and adds her own pop-infused touch. This is done in part through the artist’s production, done by friend and Chairlift member Caroline Polachek, whose signature irregular Ch-Ching beats and sonic asymmetry play a part in Amparo’s overall tone. In Camino Desolado, Usbeck’s voice dulls to a hushed whisper, held only by the sparseness of a kick drum, before blooming into a sensual dream sequence of vocal delays and ‘Ay yai yai’s’. In combining these fleshly Latin elements with Western-sounding production, Usbeck succeeds in creating a wholly original sound.

The latest concept-compilation from Nina Kraviz’s Trip label is a suitably trippy mix of dreamlike, straight-from-the-red-room techno and raw, heavy-duty tracks. At only seven tracks long, it nevertheless manages to navigate a wide chunk of the shadowy terrain that the label calls home. Icelandic producer Bjarki opens it up with Baepolar. Glacial strings drift over deep, murky eruptions of bass and light-handed breaks. As a label, Trip has made storytelling one of its central tenants, and Bjarki plays with this heavily – like characters moving through a book, nothing stays in one place too long. Kraviz’s contribution, Don’t Mind the Wrong Keys, is similarly narrative driven. A tranquil organ with an improvisational feel warbles beneath a steely click rhythm, and splashes of synth and noise are scattered over the top. Like a beautiful dream that you feel might go bad at any moment, the track’s gorgeous warmth feels constantly under threat from outside forces. As widely reported, Kraviz has also included one of Richard D James’s archived tracks. Recorded under his AFX moniker in the early 90s, it originally surfaced among one of user48736353001’s nownotorious Soundcloud dumps. Ironically for the IDM luminary, it’s probably the most ‘straightforward’ track on the record, consisting purely of quivering string patterns looped over a bloodied four-four thump.Other tracks include a haunting, minimal live cut from deceased Icelandic musician Biogen, and Barcode Population’s Temple Head, which can be adequately described as an absolute weapon. Emotionally, WIW14 seems to explore the feelings that accompany personal growth, and the forces of outside control that conflict with it. It works, but it’s a shame it doesn’t go on longer. If we’re going on a trip this exciting, why not make it last?

! Thomas Frost

! Robert Bates

! Gunseli Yalcinkaya

! Xavier Boucherat

E AGULLS Ullages Partisan Records

T WENT Y88 Twenty88 GOOD Music / Def Jam The building blocks for Big Sean and Jhene Aiko’s debut collaborative record under the Twenty88 name are fairly straightforward: space-age romantic fantasy, 1970s soul and the kinds of clubinformed productions that both artists have worked with independently. Despite that, the project successfully carves out its own lane – an exercise in restraint and insinuation where they come off sounding more engaging than they have done on some of their own releases. For Big Sean, the cat-andmouse chemistry with Aiko gives his sprawling, overspilling rhyme schemes an end goal. There are a handful of nonsensical punchlines scattered across the release but these can be forgiven in light of the rapper’s overall performance. That said, it would be remiss of me not to quote at least one clanger: “When you hop up and turn around, I can’t handle it / I might pass out like a pamphlet”, he recalls on 2 Minute Warning, dragging all the sexiness out of sex by comparing foreplay to brochure distribution. Aiko, it turns out, is the real anchor of this record. Hers is the dysfunctional, self-destructive commentary, constantly luring Sean closer then reappearing 10 steps ahead. The formula reaches boiling point on Talk Show, a standout cut which takes a sample from Love’s Society – a 1974 track from soulful RnB group The Natural Four. The couple go back and forth until Sean manages to summarise why both artists sound better together than they have independently: “Look, this ain't repetition, it’s evolution…” ! Duncan Harrison


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ANDY STOT T Too Many Voices Modern Love

Collaborative efforts in techno don’t come much weightier than the marrying of its two most distinct focus points: Berlin dub techno originator Moritz Von Oswald, and one of Detroit’s foremost techno pioneers – Juan Atkins. It was surprising then, that their first effort as Borderland received somewhat tepid reviews. New album Transport, created as part of Berlin club institution Tresor’s 25th birthday commemorations, feels apt not just because of the aforementioned protagonists’ experience, but also because the sounds on display are a brilliant distillation of all that techno and all that time. Transport feels modern, but also leans on consistently strong periods of engaging repetition, morphing, winding and bending across seven tracks. The opening title track is all menace and tension, recalling early Plastikman. Riod (which had its own EP release) is a startling production, with swirling lines and heady early morning harmonies that could soundtrack a pulsing dance floor as equally as your own introversion. Album mid-point Mekur is a muddier complexity but still warbles away over a pulsing fourfour kick to great effect. Transport is a techno album by all intents and purposes. The variation may be a little jarring for purists, but the production quality on display is befitting of the personnel involved. There's some genuine magic here.

Kathleen Brien, known to us all as Katy B, skyrocketed to the top of the pop charts in 2011 on the back of her accessible dance tracks that glided through dubstep, house, RnB, and garage with ease. Her lilting London accent, down-toearth nature and her roots in the underground pirate radio scene made her a likeable crossover star. For her third album Honey, she’s enlisted an all-star cast of producers and guest vocalists that ranges from Wilkinson, Craig David, Major Lazer, and Jamie Jones alongside more leftfield collaborators such as MssingNo, Kaytranada and weightless grime producer Mr. Mitch. The album is cozy in its many niches at best, but scattered at worst. While Katy’s 2011 debut On a Mission broke through because of its seemingly effortless journey through genre, Honey suffers from the tug-of-war between staying true to her passion for the underground scene, and maintaining commercial relevance. On a Mission made the underground accessible; but Honey seems to have tried too hard. That said, the album does succeed in showcasing Katy B as a versatile vocalist. I Wanna Be with Chris Lorenzo sees her return to radio-friendly house; Lose Your Head spaces out high energy grime verses with her hypnotic hook and Calm Down with Four Tet and Floating Points sees the singer’s RnB licks paired with a left-field maybe-garage-butmaybe-not production. Charmingly, the tracks on Honey feel like love songs to the music that influenced and shaped Katy B’s output. Championing a cast of collaborators who are brought to the forefront as co-writers rather than “just” producers, the album celebrates the scene that raised her. As she sings in the album’s outro: “All I have is London streets/ All I have is rhymes and beats.”

Andy Stott emerged from the ashes of dub-techno like a disgruntled and menacing ghost, his visceral soundscapes projecting a dystopic rage of grizzled monochrome textures. From the Detroitleaning Merciless to 2012's critically lauded Luxury Problems, we’ve seen Stott shapeshift from murky, obscure waters to a more immersive narrative of bittersweet anguish. His ventures into juke and jungle as Andrea, a collaborative pseudonym alongside Miles Whittaker's Millie, and his flirtations with softer house have seen him unfurl as a master of eclecticism. More recently, his sound has evolved from the doomsday dance music of Passed Me By, into what is perhaps his most foreign body of work, Too Many Voices. Cut from a different cloth, this time he’s ditched the grain and opted for a more plastic sound. Though some may lament the lack of dreamy-turned-dystopic soundscapes here, Stott nails it. Toying with grime's playful percussion, there’s a space and light to this record that makes it his most honest and sentimental release to date. The stuttering and jamming synths of Waiting for You sound like a possessed Tetris game, but Butterflies’ head-raising hook highlights a clarity never seen in Stott before. Melancholic warping synths slide down like drips on a window, seeping into the soulful vocals, while New Romantic exudes a sexual force, the grumbling bass rolling under whispering vocals. Title track Too Many Voices is another stand out effort, sounding like something Oneohtrix Point Never might cook up if he collaborated with Enya. This metamorphosis was not completely unforeseen, since the addition of vocalist Alison Skidmore in 2012's Luxury Problems there’s been a gradual careen to a more sentimental, softer side. Yet, on this record, Skidmore’s airy warmth breathes a humanistic heart into Stott’s production more than ever before. Andy Stott has many faces, but with each one he can completely engulf you.

The idea that there’s no political music any more doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Sleaford Mods’ snarling, electronic punk paints a lurid picture of Cameron’s Britain; Kendrick Lamar’s jagged soul provides the unofficial soundtrack for the Black Lives Matter movement. But more generally, there has been an undeniable shift away from the literal, explicit engagement with the ‘big issues’ that defined the 60s, 70s and 80s. Perhaps it’s because of the toxic legacy of cack-handed musical disasters like Live Aid, or the general co-opting of creativity and ‘alternative’ culture by a predatory corporate mainstream. Perhaps it is a good thing, and musicians have become more sophisticated, choosing conceptual commentary over heart-on-sleeve histrionics. Or maybe it’s almost impossible to make a straight-faced comment about anything in our current cultural climate: trolls will snipe; memes will mock; and political potency dissolves into the digital winds. Credible, authentic pop music that tackles major social questions head-on, without falling into mawkish melodrama or half-arsed punditry is rare, and precious – and Anohni (the artist who formerly made music as Antony & The Johnsons, in collaboration here with Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke) has produced an album that pulls it off and then some. Hopelessness is beautiful and disturbing in equal measures. Beginning with the coyly cut-throat Drone Bomb Me, expectations for the album are ruthlessly established. Anohni’s gnawing, soulful voice has always sounded best when juxtaposed with electronic production (as on Hercules & Love Affair’s debut album). But here, the emotional intensity of her earlier work is welded, uncompromisingly, to a roll call of contemporary political and social dilemmas. A brutal eulogy of Obama’s US Presidency is actually a bizarrely comprehensive analysis of two terms of Presidential power, Anohni’s simmering growl set to a spluttering, sinister lock-step beat. Perhaps even starker still is Crisis, with its distinctly unrhetorical question: If I killed your mother with a drone bomb, how would you feel? By comparison, the bombastic, breathless 4 Degrees sounds almost jaunty – although it is in fact a demonically euphoric lament to a ravished, climate changed world. And even on an album stuffed full of unflinching, unnerving political commentary, this stands out as something unique: a contemporary artist who has managed to engage – explicitly, consciously, and literally – with climate change, which is otherwise treated with a deafening silence by contemporary musical culture. The level of directness and intensity on display throughout Hopelessness is something that is usually reserved for ‘personal’ issues: love, loss, longing. These individual emotional states offer a platform for literal lyricism, and occasionally the subject matter veers into this more traditional territory (I don’t love you anymore). But it is the searing social analysis, which somehow transcends sloganeering to emerge as a powerful political critique, that defines the album. The production – as you’d expect – is consistently outstanding, providing a platform for Anohni that alternates between blunt, sinister rhythms and gentle, ghostly melodies. But it is the don’t-look-away lyricism that cuts provocatively through, adding up to an astonishing album that sounds fresh, intense and utterly compelling.

A play on the French expression Au Coeur, meaning “to the heart”, Franck Zaragoza’s moniker is a quiet distillation of his equally quiet sound. Don’t be fooled though – we mean quiet as in subtle, delicate, profound, because for all his brooding simplicity, the producer/ composer certainly has something to say. His fourth LP as Ocoeur is Reversed, a dark and expressive nine-tracker that blends solo piano compositions with strings and modern sound design. And yet, it’s not what you would expect from your typical – seemingly ubiquitous – classical meets electronica album: its depths seem to know no bounds as openers Flxo and Chance visit soundscapes that at times could be wind, ocean, or earth. Timeless swells with piano and dubby beats, while the album’s most classic number comes in the form of Souffle, French for “breath”, and true to its name, the piece is so effortless it could be gently breathing. Overall, Reversed is sinuous and organic, absorbing its listener in entirely the way a melancholic album should, morphing and evolving on every listen – the ideal accompaniment to the kind of grey morning I imagine inspired the music.

! Thomas Frost

! Nathan Ma

! Aine Devaney

! Adam Corner

! Emma Robertson

K AT Y B Honey Virgin EMI

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ANOHNI Hopelessness Rough Trade

OCOEUR Reversed n5MD


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MILES AHE AD dir: Don Cheadle Starring: Don Cheadle, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Ewan McGregor Don Cheadle’s directorial debut sees him also take the role of jazz innovator Miles Davis in 1979. The story tracks the musician as he becomes a recluse battling personal demons, label issues and an eager music journalist Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor). Thankfully this is not the ‘Miles Davis for Dummies’ film most of his devoted fans feared it would be. Instead of impersonating Davis, Cheadle rightfully chooses to channel his spirit instead and delivers an outstanding performance, although the same cannot be said for McGregor’s underwritten and clumsy journalist. For all its flaws, Miles Ahead still remains a more than worthwhile watch for Cheadle’s impressive vision about one of the most complex, cryptic musicians of all time. Rather than using the all-too-familiar biopic angle, cramming the life of a legendary figure into 90 minutes, Cheadle explores an overlooked time in Davis’s life where everybody counted him out, using trippy hallucinatory flashbacks of his troubled relationship with Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi) to effectively portray the circumstances that led to his hermit like state. Despite some pacing and structural issues, Miles Ahead is great insight into a tortured soul. ! Lee Fairweather

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MIDNIGHT SPECIAL dir: Jeff Nichols Starring: Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver

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Midnight Special is a film for people that like questions. Not questions with answers, though. Just questions. Streams of unanswered, possibly unanswerable, questions. The basic layout is: Roy (Shannon) goes on the run with his son, Alton (Lieberher), who has superpowers (what superpowers?). They need to get to a certain place at a certain time (why? Doesn’t matter). Lucas (Edgerton) and Sarah (Dunst) are along for the ride. Then some weird guys from the creepy “ranch” they used to live on (what? Never mind) and also the FBI are after them. Cue high-speed chase, dramatic shootout, near-disaster/recovery, and emotional climax followed by paradoxically sad yet uplifting ending. Midnight Special feels like a film that had a lot of potential, once, a long time ago, when a stoned guy came up with it in a basement. Now it’s gone through the Hollywood machine and come out an incoherent, punctured, grasping mess. Otherwise, Joel Edgerton is pretty good. They gave Bill Camp’s electrician/ henchman character a couple of decent lines, and the relationship between Alton and Roy has its moments. Apart from these few redeeming features, Midnight Special is just a black hole of time and money. ! Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black

THE JUNGLE BOOK dir. Jon Favreau Starring: Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley The challenging task of re-telling The Jungle Book, one of Disney’s most treasured classics was handed to Iron Man and Elf director and general Hollywood busybody, Jon Favreau. With the beloved film so well remembered, how can you match the big-band bonanza and endearing animation of the 1967 version? Well, it seems, you don’t even bother. The musical aspects are in fact pretty limp, with only fumbling renditions of Bear Necessities and I Wanna Be Like You on offer. Equally disappointing are the ‘green of the jungle’ being too obviously generated from a CGI green screen, while the A-list voices were largely unremarkable, with the only exception being Bill Murray’s Baloo. But 2016’s Jungle Book should be celebrated for its differences to Rudyard Kipling’s colonial fantasy. Favreau offers a second chance to the man-cubs in the audience today. With the tyrannical Shere Khan motivated by fear learned from a past encounter with (a) man, the film ultimately asks if Mowgli should be condemned for mankind’s track record with nature. It also demonstrates the fire that King Louie so badly desires that ravages the jungle (ahem Capitalism) is only overcome by the jungle inhabitants’ communal effort and acceptance. Walt would be turning in his grave if he knew how lefty Disney has become. ! Tim Oxley Smith

08

VICTORIA dir. Sebastian Schnipper Starring: Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Max Mauff The tracking shot has been attempted and refined by directors in recent years; whether it’s the cool crime glitz of Scorsese’s Goodfellas or Iñárritu’s boldly faked Birdman, it is an art that takes skill and precision. Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria, filmed in a single 140-minute take, turns the art into mastery. The film begins with its title character, a young girl from Madrid, in a club in Berlin’s Mitte district, as pulsing techno and flashing lights conjure familiar images of hedonistic nights and early mornings for the viewer. Upon leaving, Victoria is approached by charismatic yet dorky Sonne (Frederick Lau) and his three rougher looking friends. Intent on charming her, Sonne uses the oldest trick in the book – see Berlin from a local perspective – and, for some reason, Victoria agrees. What follows is a seemingly normal array of early morning antics – tinnies at a corner shop, a rendezvous on a roof, a bank robbery. It’s here, in the second half of the film, that the Victoria spirals into an all guns blazing thriller. Hard drugs give way to violent shootouts and police chases – you wait for the cut, but it never comes. By the end, both actors and audience are left feeling tired and weary. If realism is what Schipper was going for, then he's succeeded. ! Gunseli Yalcinkaya

03

HARDCORE HENRY dir. Ilya Naishuller Starring: Sharlto Copley, Tim Roth, Haley Bennett Hardcore Henry was always going to be one of two things: so bad it’s good, or just bad. Sadly for anyone paying for a ticket, it was the latter. The tenuous storyline sees lead character and half cyborg Henry go on a rampage in order to rescue his wife from abductees, and from there on the excuse for the mayhem begins as does the film’s obvious USP; the Peep Show style camerawork. As you’d expect, it’s fun for 20 minutes, then gets old, and ends up feeling like you’re watching a computer game that won’t skip to play mode when you press X. The other critical failure is the dialogue. Directed and co-written by Russian filmmaker Ilya Naishuller, you might have hoped the film would offer an antidote to the identikit smug, self-satisfied, sexist dialogue of almost all Hollywood action sci-fi films. From The Martian to Iron Man to Cloverfield, we’re faced with the same sort of characters, archetypes originally designed by Joss Whedon in Buffy and Firefly that now feel incredibly stale: cool, well-muscled on-screen versions of irritatingly sarcastic thirteen year old nerds, ready with a wisecrack when danger looms. These characters are perennially plastered on to our screen because the target audience want to be just like them – Hardcore Henry’s POV device allows this target audience to revel in the experience. The problem is that if you’re not in the target audience, you’re not going to get much out of it.

! Francis Blagburn


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81

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REVELATIONS TEE DRESS Aries goodhoodstore.com £142 Aries is the womenswear brand formed by Sofia Prantera, who founded 90s streetwear label Silas, and Fergus “Fergadelic” Purcell – who’s famously known for his branding of the Palace skate label. Together, these two can do no wrong. This typically casual oversized tee is the type of piece that’s going to look great when it’s faded after hundreds of washes, and there’s nothing like summer to remind you that sometimes it’s cool not to care.

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Lanzarote

05—16 MOTH Club

Thursday 12 May

THE BLANK TAPES

Tuesday 31 May

DHP

Friday 13 May

SETH BOGART Friday 13 May

NOTHING

#lanzaroteworks

HUDSON SCOTT

Valette St London E8 mothclub.co.uk

lanzaroteworks.com

presents

Monday 16 May

MOSSY

Monday 6 June

FRAN LOBO

The Lock Tavern

Monday 16 May

JUAN WAUTERS

Monday 23 May

THE ABIGAILS

35 Chalk Farm Rd London NW1 lock-tavern.com

Tuesday 17 May

TOOTHLESS Thursday 19 May

BLACK PEACHES Tuesday 24 May

LISS Thursday 26 May

DOOMSQUAD Tuesday 31 May

PRINCE RAMA Saturday 4 June

HAR MAR SUPERSTAR Monday 6 June

NO JOY

Friday 27 May

NO ZU Thursday 9 June

THE MYSTERY LIGHTS

ELVIS DEPRESSEDLY

Shacklewell Arms 71 Shacklewell Lane London E8 shacklewellarms.com Wednesday 11 May

TRIPTIDES

Sunday 8 May

ALDOUS RH

Tuesday 14 June

YUNG

The Waiting Room

Tuesday 10 May

WALLEATER Sunday 14 May

175 Stoke Newington High St N16

HUNCK

waitingroomn16.com Wednesday 25 May Monday 9 May

HEIN COOPER Friday 13 May

MANFREDAS Saturday 14 May

Wednesday 8 June

Saturday 7 May

TIGERCATS

ABSTRAXION Tuesday 17 May

CONNER YOUNGBLOOD Wednesday 18 May

ESSAIE PAS Thursday 19 May

BAT AND BALL

SLOW DANCER Thursday 2 June

UNKLE FUNKLE Friday 3 June

THE MEMORIES Saturday 4 June

WHITE FANG 11—12 June

FIELD DAY: MOTH CLUB STAGE THE SHACKLEWELL ARMS STAGE


HIATUS KAIYOTE

LAURA MVULA

CARAVAN PALACE

PAUL HEATON & JACQUI ABBOTT

EVERYTHING EVERYTHING

JACK SAVORETTI UT SOL D O

BENJAMIN CLEMENTINE

JAMES U T MORRISON SOL D O

SATURDAY 16 JULY 2016

THURSDAY 7 JULY 2016

FRIDAY 8 JULY 2016

SATURDAY 9 JULY 2016

SUNDAY 10 JULY 2016

MONDAY 11 JULY 2016

TUESDAY 12 JULY 2016

COURTNEY BARNETT

THURSDAY 14 JULY 2016

FRIDAY 15 JULY 2016

ST GERMAIN UNKLE:REDUX SUNDAY 17 JULY 2016

WEDNESDAY 13 JULY 2016

BOOKING DETAILS

SOMERSETHOUSE.ORG.UK/ SUMMERSERIES

#SUMMERSERIESGIGS

FRIDAY weyTH MAY

TROXY KAYTRANADAtCOM

DESIGN: LUKECHARLES.COM

A METROPOLIS MUSIC PRESENTATION oBY ARRANGEMENT WITH CODA

CHAIRLIF T Plus Guest

Denai Moore

T h u r s d ay 9 t h J u n e

ELECTRIC BALLROOM Gigsandtours.com Ticketmaster.co.uk Chairlifted.com New album ‘Moth’ out now A Metropolis Music presentation by Arrangement with Primary Talent Internationalnal

THURSDAY 6th OCTOBER KOKO GIGSANDTOURS.COM / TICKETWEB.CO.UK / SONGKICK.COM / DICE.FM A

METROPOLIS

MUSIC

P R E S E N TAT I O N

BY ARRANGEMENT WITH

CODA

TICKETS AVAIL ABLE FROM GIGSANDTOURS.COM & VENUE BOX OFFICES


Wednesday 11 May

Bristol O2 Academy Friday 13 May

T

LD OU GlasgowSOBarrowland

Saturday 14 May UT LD O

SO Garage Aberdeen

Monday 16 May

T

OU SOLD Riverside Newcastle

Tuesday 17 May

Manchester Albert Hall

Thu 19 & Fri 20 May

London Hackney Empire hackneyempire.co.uk

songkick.com - gigantic.com seetickets.com - gigsinscotland.com

A Crosstown Concerts & Metropolis Music presentation by arrangement with Primary Talent International


UPCOMING LONDON SHOWS WWW.ROCKFEEDBACK.COM

PRESENTS

THREE TR APPED TIGERS

MUTUAL BENEFIT plus ALDOUS HARDING

THE FIELD

SCALA Thursday 28 April.

BUSH HALL Thursday 28 April.

MOTH CLUB Saturday 30 April.

RADIATION CITY

KEVIN MORBY

plus TUFF LOVE & BOYS FOREVER

THE VICTORIA Wednesday 04 May.

OSLO Thursday 05 May.

THE DOME Friday 06 May.

SOPHIA THE LEXINGTON Monday 09 May.

CHASTITY BELT

THOMAS SUDAKISTAN COHEN CHATS PALACE Monday 09 May.

ALICE TOOTHLESS PHOEBE LOU

GILLIGAN MOSS & BAYONNE

BUSH HALL Tuesday 17 May.

THE PICKLE FACTORY Tuesday 17 May.

FATHER JOHN MISTY

BLACK PEACHES

SHLOHMO D33J / PURPLE NICK MELONS

ROUNDHOUSE Wed 18, Thur 19, Fri 20 May.

MOTH CLUB Thursday 19 May.

SHAPES Friday 20 May.

WEDIDIT presents

SONGHOY BLUES

SPRI NG KI NG

BLAENAVON

ROUNDHOUSE Saturday 21 May.

SCALA Thursday 26 May.

DINGWALLS Thursday 26 May.

JULIEN BAKER THE FORGE Thursday 26 May.

DREAM WIFE FVC & SWIM DEEP DJs

THE FINSBURY Friday 27 May.

LET’S EAT GRANDMA

THE LEXINGTON Tuesday 07 June.

OSLO Tuesday 07 June.

THE DOME Thursday 09 June.

THE MYSTERY LIGHTS

D WN

NEON INDIAN

SHACKLEWELL ARMS Thursday 09 June.

XOYO Wednesday 15 June.

OVAL SPACE Thursday 16 June.

YUMI ZOUMA

COSMO SHELDR AKE And The Impromptu Ensemble

VISIONS FESTIVAL

MOTH CLUB Tuesday 21 June.

BUSSEY BUILDING Wednesday 06 July.

VARIOUS VENUES Saturday 06 August.

plus JAMMZ

KIR AN SUNFLOWER BY THE SEA BEAN LEONARD FESTIVAL 100 CLUB Wednesday 24 August.

THE DOME Thursday 15 September.

DREAMLAND, MARGATE Friday 30 September.

OSCAR

SWANS

POLIÇA

THE DOME Tuesday 04 October.

ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL

ROUNDHOUSE Wednesday 19 October.

Thurs 13 & Fri 14 October.

WED.04.MAY.16

FRI.03.JUN.16

MON.23.MAY.16 THU.05.MAY.16 MON.06.JUN.16

MON.23.MAY.16 FRI.06.MAY.16 SAT.07.MAY.16 FRI.10.JUN.16 TUE.24.MAY.16 MON.09.MAY.16

TUE.24.MAY.16

SUN.12.JUN.16

TUE.10.MAY.16 WED.25.MAY.16

MON.13.JUN.16

TUE.10.MAY.16 TUE.14.JUN.16

THU.12.MAY.16 FRI.17.JUN.16 WED.25.MAY.16

SUN.15.MAY.16

TUE.21.JUN.16 THU.26.MAY.16

ELECTROWERKZ Wednesday 01 June.

AMBER TITUS MATMOS ANDRONICUS ARCADES

TUE.31.MAY.16

SUN.22.MAY.16

WED.25.MAY.16

plus THE MAGIC GANG

POPULAR CULTURE:

FRI.20.MAY.16 SAT.21.MAY.16

THE VICTORIA Tuesday 17 May.

MOTH CLUB Tuesday 17 May.

plus FATOUMATA DIAWARA

TUE.03.MAY.16

MON.16.MAY.16 THU.30.JUN.16

FRI.27.MAY.16 WED.18.MAY.16 FRI.22.JUL.16

SAT.28.MAY.16 WED.18.MAY.16

SAT.30.JUL.16

SUN.29.MAY.16 WED.18.MAY.16

TUE.31.MAY.16 THU.19.MAY.16 TUE.31.MAY.16

SAT.21.MAY.16


14.15.16.17 July 2016 Ferropolis, Germany

Follow us: # wearemelt

Thursday Stil vor Talent Special feat. Oliver Koletzki, Niko Schwind, Illesnoise, Several Definitions and special guests

Friday Tame Impala, M83, Skepta, Boys Noize (live), Sleaford Mods, Ben Klock, DJ Koze, Maya Jane Coles, Jamie Woon, Mano Le Tough,

Andhim, Andy Stott (live), Black Coffee, Black Cracker, Cosmin TRG, Damian Lazarus, Dekmantel Soundsystem, Fritz Helder, George FitzGerald, Gold Panda, Graham Candy, Helena Hauff, Horse Meat Disco, Isolation Berlin, JD Samson, La Fleur, Laurel Halo, Leon Vynehall, Liss, Makam, Marco Resmann, Matthias Meyer, Mura Masa, Noah Kin, Partok, Peak & Swift, Pev & Kowton (Livity Sound), Roosevelt, Sango, Sarah Farina, Say Yes Dog, Shifted, Sophie, Still Parade, Vater&Sohn, Vessels, Vril (live), Zed Bias, Zomby

Saturday Deichkind, Two Door Cinema Club, Jamie xx, Jean-Michel Jarre, Solomun, Modeselektor (DJ-Set), Maceo Plex, Peaches, Stephan Bodzin (live), Kollektiv Turmstrasse (live),

Acid Arab, Andy C, Benjamin Damage, Blind Observatory, Cormac, DJ Phono, Dr. Rubinstein, Drangsal, Ed Davenport, Fatima Yamaha (live), Floating Points (live), Freddy K, Gunjah, Hard Ton, Hi Fashion, Ho99o9, Kobosil, Kode9, Kytes, Lady Leshurr, Magdalena, Mind Against, Oddisee & Good Company, Peggy Gou, Renato Ratier, Shed, Stimming (live), Tom Trago, Virginia (live) feat. Steffi & Dexter, Woman

Sunday Disclosure, Chvrches, Tiga (live), Digitalism, Ellen Allien, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Pan-Pot,

Bob Moses, Bomba EstĂŠreo, Boris, Circa Waves, Coma, Heidi, Honey Dijon, Josh Wink, Kim Ann Foxman, Klyne, Kuriose Naturale, Lea Porcelain, Muallem, Ă˜ [Phase], SG Lewis, The Black Madonna, Tijana T


91

Turning Points: Bishop Nehru

“The shows I did with WuTang were hype, it was an awesome experience for a 16 year old kid”

Words: Duncan Harrison

You’d be forgiven for having wondered where Bishop Nehru had disappeared to. Not long ago, the prodigious teenage rapper was attracting some serious accolades – praise from Kendrick Lamar, label interest from Nas’ Mass Appeal Records and, remarkably, a collaborative album with the notoriously elusive altrap icon DOOM. But for around a year, Nehru’s name wasn’t cropping up quite as frequently as it had been when he was going bar-for-bar with his masked mentor. But now, the 19-year-old is back with a solid bank of fresh music that sees him depart from his 90s-influenced style and explore a more contemporary sound. We spoke to Nehru about the cornerstones of his career thus far and how they’ve helped build his mindset for the future.

2009: Making jazz and hip-hop instrumentals under the Kelz Scott alias I didn’t want to pay people for beats, so I wanted to hold off on putting stuff out until I could make good sounding beats myself. I always listened to a lot of hip-hop but I was probably like 13 and I was really into rock and roll and punk. I was really into like Incubus and System Of A Down. I was pretty much just freewheeling – my beats all sounded different. I had stuff influenced from jazz too. I had this teacher Mr. Arnold that put me on to a lot of instrumental stuff. He told me about Louis Armstrong and artists like that. I got into different types of music and different types of sound and I really started to expand musically. My grandma had it all, I’d just go to her house and find Al Green, Jerry Butler, The Temptations. I wanted to incorporate that style and make it feel “now”. 2012-2013: Releasing the Nehruvia and StrictlyFLOWz mixtapes, touring Europe with Wu-Tang Clan I’d rapped and stuff since elementary, I’d always been into poetry. When it picked up I just kept rolling with it, I didn’t want to pay too much attention to the blogs. I just wanted to keep getting better with it. It’s like a sport, you just have to keep going like an athlete. When I wrote Nehruvia there was nobody watching who was going to care if I said something wrong. I didn’t care if nobody liked it, cause it was my art. That’s the mindset I’m getting back to. I just wanted to make great music. The Wu-Tang

shows were really hype too, it was just an awesome experience to be a 16-year-old kid from New York and leaving the whole country. I’d never been out of the country before, so I had to sort my passport and all of that. 2014: Recording NehruvianDOOM with DOOM We met at a [London] show for Converse, it was me, him and Ghostface. Then in the sessions, we were just kicking it and talking about life outside of music. Looking back on it now, I don’t look at the music different because that’s the person I was at the time, but if I had the opportunity to work with him again I’d like to do something more raw where we could just vibe out for like a month. I know it would be something completely different and something I’d be way more proud of because of where my mind is at now. One of the biggest things DOOM told me was ‘Do you’. He signed those exact words on a vinyl he gave me which up is in my room, I see it all the time. He told me, ‘If you know what you want to do don’t let anybody tell you it’s not the right thing’. It’s really that simple. 2015-2016: Year long absence I was never really tied down to a label, so there haven’t been any real issues like that. I’ve really just been working on the album and I didn’t want to do any press or nothing. In a lot of interviews they were just asking the same stuff and I felt like it was a routine. It was all just a learning process

and I wanted to focus on getting better at making music. I don’t wanna say I cancel out attention [from Kendrick and Nas] but I’ve tried not to let it get to my head. If I pay attention to the people giving me the most praise, I have to pay attention to the people giving me negativity. Present: Magic 19 mixtape and debut retail LP The Magic 19 tape is very versatile. Thriller doesn’t sound the same as Bad you know? I want to try different things. I feel like this tape is natural Bishop. I’m really really confident. I don’t think I’ve ever been this confident about a project I’ve made. It’s the best I’ve felt so far and after this I’m just going to keep ascending and getting better and better and better. When I do drop the album, I want to have made the beats. I have a lot of it done and there’s some fire on there. I could definitely say it’s coming along smoothly. Magic 19 is released 3 June


MAYFEST

Selina Thompson - salt. 12, 13, 18, 19 May, £12 /£8 Two artists got on a cargo ship, and retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle - from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica, and back. Their memories, their questions and their grief took them along the bottom of the Atlantic and through an imaginary past. It was a long journey backwards, in order to go forwards. This show is what they brought back.

Supported by

EXHIBITION

Art from Elsewhere Until Sunday 17 July, free entry See the world through the eyes of 37 political and socially-engaged international artists. Explore video, installation, photography and painting across two sites. #ArtElsewhere Galleries open: Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–6pm, Wednesdays 11am–8pm. Admission Free. Bookshop open: Tuesday–Sunday from 11am. Café Bar open: daily from 10am.

(Image left) Selina Thompson, 2016 (Image right) Mohamed Bourouissa, La Reflet, 2007, Courtesy of kamel mennour, Paris

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93

20 Questions: Buzz Osbourne

“How could my haircut possibly be worse than it is now?”

Words: Billy Black

With a shock of unruly, Sideshow Bobesque hair and a habit of saying whatever the fuck is on his mind, Buzz Osborne – or King Buzzo to fans – commands attention. As the frontman of experimental metal progenitors, Melvins, he has been responsible for some of the heaviest, sludgiest grooves ever committed to tape, and he helped shape the then emerging grunge movement alongside his childhood friend Kurt Cobain in the late 1980s. So what’s Buzz doing now? Well he’s busy being Buzz of course, and being Buzz involves forever being on tour and releasing records. Following their recent Mike Kunka collaborative LP Three Men and a Baby, Melvins are about to release Basses Loaded, an album which features not one, not two, three, four, five, but SIX bass players. Catching Buzz while he’s on press duties, we called him to talk cartoons, egg whites and Kanye. Naturally.

What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Warner Brothers cartoons. Bugs Bunny. Stuff like that. There was a lot of smart ass answers in them, I like that a lot. Who’s your favourite Wu-Tang Clan member? Who? I paid no attention to the Wu-Tang Clan. What’s the last book you read? Dismantling America by Thomas Soul. What’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in? The most interesting one I’ve stayed in was actually in Detroit. We called it The Haunted Ramada. One time one of our touring party found broken glass in the bed. What’s your signature recipe? Egg whites, cooked a wide variety of ways. Especially with lots of hot sauce. Why egg whites? You can eat as many as you want without having to worry about it.

If you were trying to seduce a potential lover, what music would you play? Throbbing Gristle. Have you ever been arrested? As far you know, no. If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be?  The bride of Frankenstei n. Is there a piece of advice you wish you could give to yourself ten years ago? No. Have you ever taken acid? Yeah. I thought it was relatively boring. What’s your worst habit? My failure to see the weakness in others. Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? Shirley Temple. Would you go for a beer with Kanye West?  I couldn’t care less. I wouldn’t go anywhere with him. If he wanted to come to my house for dinner I’d cook him egg whites.

Out of all the songs you’ve recorded, which is your least favourite? No, there’s no songs I wish I’d never written. I apologise for very little. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Probably loading wood blocks onto trucks when I was 14 in Washington state.  Have you ever had a nickname? Well, my parents gave me this one at birth.  Describe the worst haircut you’ve ever had... How could it be worse than it is now? You’re kind of famous for your haircut though? I call it a hair grow as opposed to a haircut.  What do you want written on your tombstone?  I wanna be incinerated. Melvins headline Temples Festival, Bristol, 2-5 June. Basses Loaded is released 3 June via Ipecac Recordings


Perspective: Prince Set Me On My SassyBlack Path SassyBlack is a Seattle-based artist, and one half of the soul-rap duo THEESatisfaction. Following the death of Prince Rogers Nelson, she explores the influence the icon had on her identity, her artistry and her celebratory Black Weirdo parties. When I was 13, I thought we were all going to die. Everyone in the world, on the same day, at the same time. Somehow the streets would burst into flames, the world would collapse and we would simply not be here. Even with this mindset, I was comforted in the fact that we would all die while listening to Prince’s 1999. I had moved to Seattle from Hawaii two years prior. While horrified at the idea that I had just turned 13 and already everything was over, subconsciously I felt everything would be alright because of the beautiful way 1999 sounded. It’s such an upbeat, promising song, so I couldn’t relate anything negative to it. Prince had put that apocalyptic idea to music, so in a way I felt prepared for the world’s demise. A few years later I saw Prince live at the Key Arena in Seattle with my family. That night I knew I wanted to be a musician. It was confirmed in my mind. Prince had

me hypnotised and tears streamed down my face as my family and I rocked out. At the end of the show I felt empty and full. Light and heavy. I was stuck. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to have my summer or talk to other people who hadn’t been there. I just wanted to bask in his magical energy forever. I wanted to soak up being in his physical presence for eternity. Growing up in Hawaii I had plenty of music to listen to, but a few artists always stood out. Stevie Wonder, CHIC, Patrice Rushen, Kashif & Prince come to mind instantly. The soundtrack of my childhood fluctuated, but these stars were apart of the core score. I loved the Minneapolis sound. Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Morris Day & the Time, Cherrelle, Sheila E, etc. Their lyrics and presentation spoke to me deeply, sometimes it scared me. The artists of that time were flamboyant with glossy lips, tight pants and feathered hair. I never questioned their sexuality. What was there to question? When feelings of masculinity and femininity were mixing inside of me, I knew there was a place for me to exist. Whenever the video for Kiss came on, I wanted to view it privately because of my strong attraction to Prince’s being. When the song Cream came out I simply refused to

listen to it around others, while songs like Diamonds & Pearls would make me cry a few seconds in. Watching my parents deal with the loss of him is difficult. My Dad is the one who educated me about the Minneapolis sound. He’s where I got – and still get – a lot of my music education from. So watching him and my mother during this time can be heartbreaking. Prince’s death also brings us closer together. We skip down memory lane thinking of our favorite Prince songs, and learn new things about one another. A lot of my creative peers have been inspired by Prince’s ability to connect with the world through music. His grace, talent and leadership paved a way for the next generations of musicians. Groups like J*Davey & KING, who were directly connected to Prince, have a strong sense of freedom in their creative sound and musicianship. While artists like Iman Omari, The Internet and myself (who were touched by his presence from a distance) are also able to amplify similar depths of expression.  When developing my Black Weirdo & Funky Congregation parties, I planned to create a sonic space where vast

varieties of punky, funky weirdos and outsiders could convene and celebrate new and old sounds. Through these events I’m able to embrace the spirit of experimental creative entities (Prince, Michael Jackson, Chaka Khan, Parliament, etc.) while introducing newer artists with akin vibrations. It’s difficult for many of us to process this. Prince was our lover, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, sibling, mentor, everything. He is the one of the reasons I go by SassyBlack. It feels simply wrong to say he is gone. And it is wrong. He lives in every one of us. In our favorite music that exists and that is to come. He exists because when he left this world physically, his energies and spirits were spread out to us all. He encouraged us. He is of us and we are of him and it’s up to the creatives of our time to continue on his legacy of greatness. SassyBlack’s new album No More Lame Dates is released 17 May

Illustration: Ed Chambers


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Crack Issue 64  

Featuring Metronomy, John Cale, Apeiron Crew, the Big Moon, Kamasi Washington, Steve Gunn, Sebastiaan Pieter, Thomson & Craighead and more

Crack Issue 64  

Featuring Metronomy, John Cale, Apeiron Crew, the Big Moon, Kamasi Washington, Steve Gunn, Sebastiaan Pieter, Thomson & Craighead and more